Allercy and Asthma Health
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Fall 2008

Asthma and the Athlete

Peak Performance Program in Schools Will Help Children with Asthma

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The Official Publication of AAN - MA

Peak Performance USA in Schools Will Help Children with Asthma

National asthma guidelines tell us asthma can be well controlled with the right treatment and patient education. But too many children, and the people responsible for their day-to-day care, simply don’t realize it. With this in mind, respiratory therapists, members of the American Association for Respiratory Care, are offering a free public health program called Peak Performance USA in which respiratory therapists train school nurses, coaches, and other local school personnel in asthma care based on the newly released guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP).

Asthma can be controlled with proper care and management, the condition is still a huge problem in the pediatric population. Nine million children have asthma, and 14.7 million school days are missed annually due to the condition. Recent government statistics also confirm that asthma is the third most common reason for childhood.

Mary Hart, RRT, AE-C, manager of the Martha Foster Lung Care Center at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, TX, worked on organizing the program and says, “I believe in educating school nurses, administrators, coaches, and PE teachers about asthma because it is vital to our children’s future.” She notes that asthma is still one of the top childhood diseases identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Even with all the medications and devices to treat asthma that are available today, we still have kids going to the emergency room on a regular basis. Since children spend so many hours a day in school, what better place to train their educators, principals, school nurses, coaches, etc., in how to best recognize, monitor, and treat asthma? This is where Peak Performance USA fits in.”

Parents of children who have asthma can ask their child’s school administrators if they have Peak Performance USA. If not, these are some of the talking points parents can use to encourage schools to participate:

  • There needs to be better and faster recognition of a child’s asthma attack, with information on what to do at school and when. Peak Performance USA  can help in this effort.
  • Find out what the rules are for carrying asthma medications to school.
  • Educate the school on the fact that the child’s individual asthma action plan should will be easily accessible to those in authority and should be followed because the parents worked with a health care practitioner involved in the child’s asthma care to develop it.

Peak Performance USA ensures that schools understand:

  • Why the program is needed at the school
  • Latest evidence-based asthma facts from the NAEPP
  • Peak Performance actions for all communities of interest, including school personnel, parents, primary care providers, etc.
  • A detailed “Asthma Management Guide” based on the NAEPP guidelines and other resources
  • Public relations kit for schools, including a sample school newsletter announcement and sample press release for local media
  • Links to pharmaceutical purchase assistance programs
  • A list of states with regulations allowing self-medication in schools

       Peak Performance USA is free to the public and can go a long way toward helping schools recognize and adhere to the latest asthma guidelines. Since asthma disproportionately affects children and adolescents, Peak Performance USA will help schoolchildren get the proper asthma treatment quickly. •

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