Englewood Schools

Belong and Thrive

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Definition:

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory and obstructive disease of the airways. Asthma “attacks” or exacerbations, may cause permanent changes (remodeling) of the airway if not properly treated. Asthma cannot be cured but can be well controlled.

What happens during an Asthma exacerbation:

When asthma symptoms become worse it is called an asthma attack or episode.  In an asthma attack, muscles around the airways tighten up and become much narrower so less air can flow into your lungs.  At the same time, the airways are irritated, inflamed and swollen.  The airways produce more mucus than usual.  Together these changes make it harder to breathe.

Signs/Symptoms:

  • Coughing (dry hacky cough)
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest tightness
  • Shortness of breath (cannot complete a sentence without taking breath), and
  • Decreased tolerance to activity, but still able to talk in complete sentences
  • Shortness of breath (cannot complete a sentence without taking breath), and
  • Wheezing (the whistling noise of the air moving through narrow airways with each effort to inhale)  
  • Severe symptoms: struggling to breathe, constant cough, trouble talking, skin of chest and/or neck pulls in with breathing, blue color of lips/nails

Common Triggers:

o   Respiratory infections, colds

o   Allergies: pollen, animal dander, dust, mites, cockroaches and molds

o   Physical exercise

o   Temperature changes (cold winter air)

o   Irritants: perfume, pollution, pesticides, strong odors, cigarette smoke and chalk dust


Treatment of Students during an Asthma Exacerbation

  1. **Always follow the child's individual Asthma Action Plan**
  2. Have child stop activity and relax in a seated, upright position.
  3. Remove trigger if known (go inside, away from pollen/cold air)
  4. Administer rescue inhaler as ordered, allow 15-30 minutes to work
  5. Once feeling better, the child may return to normal activity, discourage vigorous exercise
  6. If child has no inhaler, call parent
  7. If symptoms do not improve or worsen (severe symptoms noted) - call parent, 911 and school nurse consultant. Stay with student and remain calm until EMS arrives.
  8. Document 

 

 
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