Thursday, October 4, 2012

How Asthma Friendly Is Your Childcare Setting?

asthmaThe Checklist is a seven-item list in a scorecard format that can be used by parents and child-care providers to help pinpoint specific areas that may cause problems for children with asthma. It is available in English and Spanish. It is accompanied by an extensive list of organizations that can serve as useful resources to child-care staff to make asthma-friendly changes in their environment.
Children with asthma need proper support in child-care settings to keep their asthma under control and be fully active. Use the checklist below to find out how well your child-care setting assists children with asthma:
• Is the child-care setting free of tobacco smoke at all times?
• Is there good ventilation in the child-care setting? Are allergens and irritants that can make asthma worse reduced or eliminated?

Check if any of the following are present:
◦ Cockroaches
◦ Dust mites (commonly found in humid climates in pillows, carpets, upholstery, and stuffed toys)
◦ Mold
◦ Furry pets
◦ Strong odors or fumes from art and craft supplies, pesticides, paint, perfumes, air fresheners, and cleaning chemicals

• Is there a medical or nursing consultant available to help child-care staff write policy and guidelines for managing medications in the child-care setting, reducing allergens and irritants, promoting safe physical activities, and planning field trips for students with asthma?
• Are child-care staff prepared to give medications as prescribed by each child's physician and authorized by each child's parent? May school-aged children carry their own asthma medicines when appropriate? Is there someone available to supervise children while taking asthma medicines and monitor correct inhaler use?
• Is there a written, asthma action plan for each child in case of a severe asthma episode (attack)? Does the plan make clear what action to take? Whom to call? When to call?
• Does a nurse, respiratory therapist, or other knowledgeable person teach child-care staff about asthma, asthma management plans, reducing allergens and irritants, and asthma medicines? Does someone teach all the older children about asthma and how to help a classmate who has it?
• Does the child-care provider help children with asthma participate safely in physical activities? For example, are children encouraged to be active? Can children take or be given their medicine before exercise? Are modified or alternative activities available when medically necessary?
If the answer to any question is "no," children in your child-care setting may be facing obstacles to controlling their asthma. Uncontrolled asthma can hinder a child's attendance, participation, and progress in school. Child-care staff, health professionals, and parents can work together to remove obstacles and promote children's health and development.
Contact the organizations listed for information about asthma and helpful ideas for making school policies and practices more asthma-friendly. Federal and State laws are in place to help children with asthma.
Resources for Families and School Staff
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program 
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Information Center
(301) 251-1222
Allergy & Asthma Network 
Mothers of Asthmatics
(800) 878-4403 or (703) 641-9595
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 
(800) 822-ASMA or (414) 272-6071
American Academy of Pediatrics 
(800) 433-9016 or (847) 228-5005
American Association for Respiratory Care 
(972) 243-2272
American Association of School Administrators
American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology 
(800) 842-7777 or (847) 427-1200
American Lung Association 
For the affiliate nearest you, call 
(800) LUNG USA
American School Health Association
(330) 678-1601
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 
(800) 7-ASTHMA or (202) 466-7643
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Division of Adolescent and School Health
(800) CDC-INFO
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Environmental Health
Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects
(800) CDC-INFO
National Association of School Boards
(703) 838-6722
National Association of School Nurses
(866) 627-6767
National Association of State Boards of Education
(703) 684-4000
U.S. Department of Education 
Office for Civil Rights, Customer Service Team 
(800) 421-3481 or (202) 205-5413
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
• Indoor Environments Division 
(202) 233-9370
• Indoor Air Quality Information Clearinghouse 
(800) 438-4318

Asthma can be controlled; expect nothing less.
Reprinted with permission form the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

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