Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) declared May “National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month.” With spring in full bloom, May is peak season for allergy and asthma sufferers. First 5 San Diego would like to take this opportunity to share methods of addressing asthma and allergy triggers in children.
According to the AAFA, “more than 6 million children under the age of 18 suffer from asthma.” Asthma and allergies are serious concerns, but both can also be safely managed with a comprehensive plan. To minimize the impact of both asthma and allergies, the AAFA recommends establishing an action plan to follow to manage symptoms. A written plan is also very important for young children to ensure consistent care between caregivers.
The AAFA offers a downloadable Child Care Asthma/Allergy Action Card to develop a clear plan along with handy instructions for childcare providers and other caregivers to manage your child’s asthma or allergies. The first step of any plan is to identify a child’s asthma or allergy triggers. For instance, triggers may be pets, dust, second hand smoke, pollen, and certain food(s), to name a few. Discuss with your healthcare provider whether an evaluation by an allergist may be helpful. Minimizing contact with the triggers is the first line of defense. However, accidents happen and thus there must be a plan in place to quickly address a child’s needs in the event they encounter a trigger. So, the next step is to outline the emergency action plan portion laid out in the AAFA’s form.
As part of a complete emergency action plan, be sure to keep necessary prescribed medicines on hand not only for yourself, but also for other caregivers including preschool or family and friends that may also watch the child.
Developing the action plan may seem scary since you are dealing with possible threats to your child’s wellbeing. However, the fear can be alleviated with the knowledge that in the case of an allergy or asthma emergency, you and your child’s caregiver are prepared to keep your child safe.