Don’t let seasonal allergies ruin spring for children

Tips to keep the affects of allergies and asthma at bay during pollen seasonGoodbye, winter. Be gone and take your polar vortex with you! Hello, spring. Bring the warm temperatures and sunshine, but take it easy on the pollen count, OK?

The truth is, there isn’t much we can do about plants and trees releasing pollen into the air. While this natural flowering process gives rise to all the beautiful vegetation that makes …Click here to continue reading

Exercising with asthma

Asthma is one of the most common conditions impacting children today. In fact, asthma accounts for a loss of more than 10 million school days and costs parents more than $700 million due to missed work each year.

Many parents worry about their children with asthma participating in exercise. As a result, these parents limit their children’s physical activity. The truth is, asthma diagnoses often are misunderstood. Having asthma should not keep children from exercising.

To better control asthma triggers, follow these steps:

  • Ask your child’s health care provider for an asthma action plan that will help you control your child’s asthma.
  • Teach your child use the proper medication to manage the condition.
  • Encourage and promote an active lifestyle.
  • Make sure your child exercises in a controlled environment (clean space or outdoors) and always has his or her asthma medication readily available.
  • Educate your child on what to do if an asthma attack occurs, so he or she knows how to react quickly.
  • Talk to your child’s health care provider if current medication is not helping and your child is having symptoms on a regular basis.

For fun ways to increase your child’s physical activity with controlled exercise, visit the Centers for Disease Control. Information for parents can be found at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

~ Michele Polfuss, APNP, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

Asthma worsens in winter months

Asthma is the No. 1 reason children are admitted to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and winter in Wisconsin is a time when asthma sufferers have to be especially careful to prevent asthma attacks. Cold air can trigger asthma flare-ups.  Winter also can bring an increase in sinus infections and upper respiratory viral infections that trigger or worsen asthma.

Consider these tips to help prevent winter asthma attacks:

  • Dress warmly. Cover your nose and mouth with a scarf when outside. This helps to warm and moisten the air before it is breathed into the lungs.
  • Monitor air quality indoors. Avoid using wood stoves or fireplaces because they pollute the air.
  • Keep your body healthy. Get your annual flu shot and wash hands frequently. Be proactive in avoiding illness. Colds and other respiratory infections can lead to asthma flare-ups.
  • Be cautious of over-the-counter cold medications that may trigger a bad reaction or upset the success of your current asthma treatment program.
  • Always make sure you and/or your child have your medication before going outside.

Your physician is your best source for information if you have questions. Follow your physician’s plan for ongoing asthma care and management. Notify your doctor immediately if you or your child becomes sick during the season. Regardless of any precautions you take, make sure you are ready to handle an asthma episode before it occurs.

~ Michael C. Zacharisen, MD, allergist and immunologist at the Asthma, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Turn the key, be idle-free

studentsAs coordinator for Fight Asthma Milwaukee Allies, I keep very busy teaching Milwaukee students about asthma: what it is and how to manage it.  Last week was especially busy, as I also was gearing up for Milwaukee Public Schools’ anti-idling campaign. It was so great to see young students taking action to make the air they breathe better. As the bell rang at the end of the day, students at Congress Elementary School ran up to parked cars, vans and buses and asked drivers to turn off the ignition and pledge to not idle. Check out the photos from the event. It’s part of an anti-idling campaign involving 20 other MPS schools through an asthma management grant from the Centers for Disease Control. FAM Allies received an additional grant from the CDC to provide these same schools with asthma education. …Click here to continue reading