School Screening Success!

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This spring, the Utah Asthma Coalition provided free asthma screenings at parent teacher conferences and kindergarten registration at schools across Cache Valley.

One in ten children have asthma, it is the most chronic condition in children under 18. On average an asthmatic child will miss five days of school per year because of side effects of the disease. Even when asthma symptoms are not severe enough to require care it can affect their sleep, play and performance in school. Our goal is to reach as many children and families as possible to help with education and support of their asthma. Our presence at these events allows parents the opportunity to talk with our coalition members, have their questions answered and receive information for more in depth screenings.

Misunderstandings about symptoms and treatment is a common factor in the proper care of asthma. We as the Utah Asthma Coalition want to see our valleys children miss less school days, and learn to properly care for their asthma with our help. We our partnerships with Cache Valley schools that allow the Utah Asthma Coalition to provide life changing intervention. Thank you Cache County School District, Logan School District and Thomas Edison Charter School South for helping to facilitate so many successful screenings!

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Does your kid feel miserable?

Many parents casually mention to their doctor that their child has been miserable for some time, coughing constantly, feeling tightness in the chest, feeling short of breath. They mention that they are unable to live like a “normal” kid. These kids are normal, they just have asthma. These parents mistakenly believe that nothing can be done to help their child feel better.

The good news is that through proper diagnosis by a physician and prescribed mediation, children with asthma can live a normal life.

What should you look for if your think your child has asthma? The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) gives some great guidelines for the symptoms of asthma:

  • Coughing, especially at night, during exercise or when laughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Wheezing (a whistling or squeaky sound in your chest when you breathe, especially when exhaling)
  • Any asthma symptom is serious and can become deadly if left untreated.

These symptoms can be caused by triggers. Some things to look for:

  • Outdoor allergens, such as pollens from grass, trees and weeds
  • Indoor allergens, such as pet dander, dust mites and mold
  • Certain drugs and food additives
  • Irritants in the air, such as smoke, chemical fumes and strong odors, such as perfume
  • Colds, the flu or other illnesses
  • Exercise (although people with asthma can benefit from some exercise)
  • Stress
  • Weather conditions, such as cold air or extremely dry, wet or windy weather

What should you do if you notice these symptoms? We can help you confirm these symptoms or you can set up a visit with your family physician. Your physician can help manage your child’s asthma.

Your child can be happy and healthy with the appropriate management of their asthma. Let us help you take the first step and get appropriate attention. We want to help your child spend less time thinking about their asthma and more time being a kid.

Utah Asthma Coalition presents proposals for Logan schools

The Utah Asthma Coalition met with the Logan City School District Board of Education on Tuesday to propose changes to ensure that students with asthma receive proper treatment.

Jeffrey Bennion, an ears, nose and throat doctor in Logan, spoke on behalf of the coalition to the board. He presented several proposals that the board will vote on at the next meeting on Feb. 24. The proposals included the following:

  • Educating teachers on proper emergency interventions like how to use an inhaler or an epinephrine pen.
  • Conducting asthma clinics to screen children for asthma and help them get proper care.
  • Requiring that students identify themselves as having asthma or not at the time of school registration.
  • Educating teachers on the signs of asthma so they can identify children with symptoms and help them arrange for a doctor’s screening.

Bennion highlighted the size of the nation’s asthma problem, citing statistics showing that one in 10 kids have the disease. Of those kids, 50 percent miss school at least one time a year.

“It’s a relatively significant problem for kids,” he added.

The purpose of the coalition is to work with the health care and education communities to identify and help patients and their families manage asthma.

Bennion explained that last year in the United States, 2 million kids ended up in the ICU because of asthma and 5 million went to an emergency room. However, only 27 percent of asthmatics receive adequate care. This is due to several factors, he said, including not knowing if someone has asthma, the cost of treatment, failure to understand treatment and failure to comply with treatment.

Bennion said he hoped that by working with the school system, asthmatic kids will be able to live better lives.

“The problem with chronic illness, and doctors get pretty frustrated with this, is people expect a cure. People think that if they have a disease, there should be a cure. They get angry if that is not the case,” Bennion said. “With asthma, that is not the case. Kids need to learn to manage the disease, and we want to help them to do that.”

kcannon@hjnews.com

Twitter: mskellycannon

Who are we?

The short answer is: we are parents, teachers, medical professionals, and family members of people with asthma. We’re here to help people with asthma manage and control their condition.

The long answer is we’re a non-profit focused on improving the health of the community by helping asthma patients manage their chronic condition independently.

Asthma is a unique condition. While there is no confirmed cure for asthma, the condition can be managed through proper medication and prevention. We perform assessments and screenings to help individuals better understand their condition and pass along the information to the traditional general practice doctor that patient sees to make sure everyone is on the same page.

The good news is help is here. The even better news is that 100% of the donations and grants the Utah Asthma Coalition receives goes to intervention and patient care. We are lean and mean in the fight against asthma and we are confident in our ability to prevent unnecessary hospitalizations and ER visits.

To join us in beating asthma add us on Facebook or Twitter. Invite your friends, particularly those who do or may have asthma. We’d like to help out.

Coalition offers asthma screening

By Shannon Nielsen   staff writer, the Herald Journal

The Utah Asthma Coalition wants Cache Valley residents with asthma to breathe a little better.   With the launch of activities in Northern Utah and a free asthma assessment in North Logan on Thursday, the coalition is seeking to help those with asthma manage the condition.  

Ike Bennion, the director of communications for the coalition, said one of the goals for the assessment is to help prevent unnecessary hospitalization when asthma symptoms get worse.   “We hope that we can help people: One, recognize they have asthma, and two, if they do have asthma, manage their asthma,” he said.   There is a spectrum of those who suffer from asthma, he said. From those who can manage without medication to those who need a daily regimen to control symptoms, he said it’s important to understand your specific asthma needs.  

According to the Allergy Foundation of America, an average of 36,000 children miss school and 27,000 adults miss work on any given day due to asthma. Around 4,700 individuals are hospitalized each day. These hospitalizations, Bennion said, are largely avoidable when proper attention is paid to the condition.   McKenzie Reeder, the clinical director, said the target is helping those patients already diagnosed with asthma better manage symptoms and better understand medication.  

These assessments, she said, will hopefully be done twice a year to help residents be more aware of their asthma. There is no set date for the next local asthma assessment. “Winter can be a critical time for asthma management,” said Jeff Bennion, M.D., president of the coalition. “There are so many triggers that can cause attacks, such as severe cold and pollution. It is important to evaluate treatment regimens.”  

snielsen@hjnews.com   Twitter: @evelccm9 Comment at hjnews.com 

 

Eli Lucero/Herald Journal  

McKenzie Reeder tests Courtnie Orton for asthma on Thursday.