Research shows that 91% of homeowners have taken steps to minimize exposures to the allergens that asthma trigger. Only 63% of renters have done the same. For many new families, renting feels like a temporary solution, and parents are less likely to spend significant effort on a place they feel little attachment too.

House for Rent Air Quality

The problem: Renters are largely unaware about what triggers potentially exist in the carpets, air ducts, or furniture. As a result, the living space of families, a place of safety, becomes the cause of breathing problems.

And with home ownership at it’s lowest level in over a decade, the financial state of many families is preventing them from moving into the home they planned for. They are forced to continue renting, but don’t think about the triggers that are hiding beneath the surface.

The bottom line: if changes aren’t made, the living space continues to be a breeding ground for symptoms, rather than a place of escape from allergens.

Simple steps and strategies can be found on the full report at BlackDoctor.org.

Here are several more broad resources on the links between air quality & asthma:

http://asthma.about.com/od/faq/f/Does-Indoor-Air-Pollution-Affect-Your-Asthma.htm

http://www.arb.ca.gov/research/asthma/asthma.htm

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Common sense: a parent’s smoking habit predisposes their children to asthma and pulmonary conditions. But what about parents that smoke during pregnancy and then kick the habit?

Turns out parents still may be putting their unborn child at greater risk. A large European study has just hit the presses and, while results from the longitudinal study can not prove a link, the correlations are still sobering. Researchers tracked ~21,600 children from a prenatal period all the way up to age 6. Children with parents that smoked during the pregnancy – but quit before birth – were 2/3 more likely to have asthma than those children with parents who did not smoke at all. Full report in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, online August 17, 2012: bit.ly/O2vqA

Here are several more broad resources on the links between smoking & asthma:

Did you know that one out of every 10 school age children have asthma? For every elementary school in Alabama, there are an average of 50 children that suffer from this chronic condition. Thats 50 students who are missing more school, struggling at playtime, and encountering triggers every day.

It is important for families, teachers, and school staff to be equipped so our schools can be asthma friendly. Here are a few resources to get you started.

A Guide

Education

Other Resources

Need more?

The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) has a great list of asthma resources for schools here.

Many busy, “on-the-go” families have to fit their child’s nebulizer treatments into their daily lives. However, being consistent with treatment is challenging during traveling season. But your child’s asthma shouldn’t stop you from planning a family vacation or a trip with friends. 

Kids traveling

It all about being prepared and equipped. If done right, you should be able to enjoy endless leisure activities with you child. Just keep treatment in mind when planning. Look ahead. Call ahead. Ask other moms. Get online and check resources.

Before you go…

When packing, be sure to include your child’s medication and equipment. Keep them handy at all times, not buried in the trunk or suitcase. And if you’re flying, be sure to take them in your carry-on luggage – you don’t want to lose everything if you bags get lost. Forgetting medications is the most common reason for ending up in the hospital.

Carry health insurance cards and information, and create an action plan (that way you’ll have the names of medicines, dosage information, and your doctor’s phone number, just in case).

Bring a letter from the doctor that describes your child’s medications, and equipment. This can help you with airport security.

Invest in a portable nebulizer. While there is not really any portable equipments specifically for kids, many can be modified for their needs. Many of these can be plugged into the cigarette lighter in a car. If you’ll be traveling abroad, make sure you have the adapter you need to use it.

Traveling on a plane

Many airlines allow the use of battery-operated nebulizers, but check on this in advance. Nebulizers aren’t included in aircraft emergency kits, so be prepared.

When traveling, try to have your child take medications at the usual home time. That means adjusting for different time zone.

If you child has asthma, keep the asthma triggers in mind when planning what activities you do. For example, avoid lots of walking weather is going to be extremely cold and dry.

And lastly, know the location of emergency medical care in the area you will be traveling – just in case.

Let’s hear it for proactive and engaged parents!

The Easy Breathing Band came about because two moms (myself and my mother-in-law) identified a problem and couldn’t find a solution. We talked with doctors, asked other parents and scoured the web… but there was nothing out there designed to replace or reinforce the flimsy elastic band that is used to hold nebulizer masks in place and ensure medication delivery. So we made our own system. Our kids loved it, we loved it and other parents in similar situations started to talk…

That’s the quick version of our story. I bring this up, only to encourage other parents to get out there and get proactive. You may not be an inventor, but you may be able to affect change within your local school district or raise awareness for respiratory conditions impacting your family & community.

One of the first steps in any development project is education. There are a ton of resources out there. One that’s particularly eye-catching this week – given all of the back-to-school buzz – is the following free webinar organized by the Environmental Protection Agency. Details quoted from the event registration page…

Webinar: Strategic Collaboration for Effective Asthma Management in Schools

Sponsoring Program:
Event Date:
12 September 2012 – 2:00pm – 3:00pm
Event Description:
Are you interested in forming strategic community partnerships to achieve optimal asthma management in schools? Then join EPA for the Green Strides Strategic Collaboration for Effective Asthma Management in

Schools webinar on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, from 2 – 3 p.m. EDT. Hear from leading asthma experts as they discuss best practices for asthma management in schools and how they formed successful collaborations with key partners to expand the reach of their comprehensive school-based asthma management programs.

Attend this webinar to:

  • Discover strategies for identifying and
    collaborating with a diverse set of community partners to improve asthma management in schools.
  • Hear unique perspectives and tactics for increasing community awareness about
    asthma’s impact on students and how to effectively control it.
  • Learn how controlling asthma in schools can lead to improved academic performance.
  • Understand the connection between effective asthma
    management in schools and green and healthy learning environments.
  • Gain answers to your questions about comprehensive school-based asthma management programs from leading asthma experts.

Speakers:

  • Teresa Lampmann, Coordinating Manager, The Pediatric/Adult Asthma Coalition of New Jersey
  • Marilyn Hammett, Coordinator of Health Services, Louisiana Recovery School District
  • Kitty Hernlen, Assistant Professor, Georgia Health Sciences University

Facilitator:

  • Tracy Washington Enger, Indoor Environments Division,
    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

If you are the parent of a child with asthma, RSV, or another respiratory ailment, then a nebulizer treatment is probably a part of your routine.

The trick is getting your toddler to cooperate long enough to give the treatment when they are scared or dread the process. Their squirming and crying leads to shallow breathing, which keeps the asthma medication from being as effective.

Toddlers don't like breathing treatment

We scoured the web for tips from REAL PARENTS who have learned how to make their kids tolerate (and even enjoy) the process. Here are our favorites:

  1. Choose a time that your child is most relaxed. If giving a night-time treatment, make it a part of a bedtime routine, after a warm bath. Use the time to read a book with your child, or let him watch a few minutes of their favorite television show.
  2. Use the nebulizer at the same time and in the same place every day. Then it will become a regular part of your child’s routine. Make a game out of using the nebulizer. You could sing or pretend to be an astronaut while you do it, for example.
  3. Make the nebulizer machine more child-friendly by encouraging your child to decorate their mask.
  4. If your child is older, he or she may like taking some of the responsibility for the nebulizer treatment. Allow your child to help you put the mask on and turn the machine on and off.
  5. If they are younger, put them in the highchair, and place some toys on the tray.
  6. Have an iPhone or iPad? Allow them to play Angry Birds or a similar kid-friendly app. Or Allow them to watch their favorite movie.
  7. In between treatments allow the baby to play with the mask. Put the nebulizer on from time to time but don’t give a treatment. That will help the baby associate those things with play and something not to be concerned with.
  8. Give your mask a name like “nebbie.” A Few fun, friendly nebulizer masks can be found here.
  9. Add an Easy Breathing Band to your mask. It will allow a busy kiddo to move around and play freely. Breathing treatments no longer have to interrupt playtime and your life.

Anyone suffering with any chronic respiratory illness like Asthma or RSV feels the frustration of time daily medical routine. Strick schedules, wasted time, and annoying treatment procedures are wildly inconvinient.

It is a necessary evil we must stomach in order to combate the multitude of respiratory problems that fight to keep us from living a normal life.

The only thing that’s worse is watching your children fight the same battle.

Strict daily routines make them scream and squirm. The added anxiety and unhappiness only adds to the airway contriction. And YOU are forced make them cooperate because their safety is what is most important.

What if you could make your child feel relaxed and happy during treatment? Here’s something that has helped us.

Fun medical masks are making breahing easier for kids everywhere. And parents have one less battle to fight in the war for their kids health and happiness. Give child a friendly face  instead of a scary machine. Here’s a list of fun, friendly nebulizer masks that might make them smile: (Click Image)


Pediatric Dragon Nebulizer Mask

Spots the Dog Nebulizer Mask

Did you hear that? A collective sigh of relief from parents everywhere? The kids are headed back to school!

While it’s nice to get back to a routine, it’s always a bit troubling to send your little one off into someone else’s care. For parents of asthma sufferers, this time of year is a great opportunity to talk with your youngster:

  • Does he/she understand why they need to take their medication?
  • Can he/she identify and avoid triggers?
  • Does he/she know dosing instructions?
  • Can he/she self-administer medication, regularly and responsibly?

Even if you can answer “yes” to these questions, you should work on drafting an action plan that includes: a history of the condition, triggers, dosing instructions, notes from your physician and emergency contact numbers. Make sure your school has a copy of your child’s information and find out who is in charge of administering medication.

Be proactive!

Indoor air quality (IAQ) also plays a big role in the prevalence of asthma. If you feel like there may be some IAQ issues at your school, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s excellent IAQ Action Kit. The kit is built for administrators, teachers and parents and includes a number of checklists and action plans for improvement.

Mason and Avery just started swim lessons. Thanks to our country’s extremely warm year and our Alabama home, we still have plenty of pool time ahead!

I thought Travis was going to pass out from pure pleasure when Mason’s coach told us, “he is a little athlete, he’s very coachable.” Meanwhile, Avery was in tears but we were assured, “she wasn’t scared. She was just really, really, really mad.” With that, I thought I was going to pass out from pure pleasure – my little gal has some fight in her!

Swimming certainly brings up some questions for parents with little ones that have struggled with breathing conditions. What sort of precautions should I take? Will swimming help or worsen asthma and respiratory problems?

Here is some interesting research we found here at The Easy Breathing Band’s HQ:

Exercise-induced asthma is certainly a concern, but it’s not insurmountable. Particularly when an indoor pool is involved, ventilation and general air quality may make breathing more difficult and potentially dangerous for little ones that are predisposed to these sorts of problems.

However, swimming is excellent exercise, so there is definitely a tremendous advantage to pool time. In fact, there has also been quite a bit of research into how intensive swimming programs actually increase total lung capacity.

Better breathing?!

Everything from the horizontal positioning of the body, rhythmic breathing and occasional states of hypoxia may help develop alveoli and the lungs’ ability to expand. What’s more, some of this research – with a similar finding – has also been done with kids.

Check out this article on MedicineNet.com for more information, including helpful tips and a lengthy Q&A by a WebMD physician: http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=53704

Most people assume Olympic athletes are at the absolute pinnacle of health — perfect bodies and a clean bill of health. Right?! But, time-and-time again, unbelievable stories emerge from the Games demonstrating how willpower and strength of mind are much more predictive of success. Just ask Oscar Pistorius, who made it to the semifinals for his individual event and will be running in the finals for SA’s 4 x 100m relay. Or have a chat with Eric Shanteau who bounced back from cancer to swim in London.

The reality is that about 8% of Olympic Athletes have asthma.

The Easy Breathing Band was created to give my children freedom and the ability to run and play. Asthma and RSV doesn’t have to slow us down.

For inspiration: check out this 60 second podcast on Asthma and Olympic Athletes by Scientific America  or head over to The Asthma Mom to check out her list of famous people and athletes with asthma.

runner, sprinter, asthma, health

Photo via http://www.flickr.com/photos/soldiersmediacenter/5961102849/

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