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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

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.