Taking on Asthma
Asthma is a long-term health problem that affects millions of children in the United States. Kids with asthma have trouble breathing. They are likely to miss school, go to the emergency room and can even end up in the hospital. In serious cases, they can die from an asthma attack. Even those whose asthma isn't severe may miss out on sports and other activities because of their condition.
While childhood asthma can be controlled, it can't be cured. The more you learn about asthma, the better you and your family can manage living with the disease, so that your child can make the most of each day.
Learn more about childhood asthma and our efforts to combat it:
- Our Asthma Initiatives
- Learning About Asthma
- For Parents
- For Schools
- For Health Professionals
- Asthma Quiz
When someone in the family has asthma, it affects the whole family. Some days are a win, and other days can be tough. Read these stories to learn more about how we are helping kids with asthma in the communities we serve.
Share Your Asthma Story
What stories do you have to share about your successes and your challenges? (A swim meet victory or a cancelled picnic?) Share your story with us to help other families.
Our Asthma Initiatives
Health Care Service Corporation is taking on childhood asthma in an aggressive way to help patients with asthma better manage their conditions and improve their quality of life.
Under our signature community investment program, the Healthy Kids, Healthy Families? initiative, we work with the American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest to fight childhood asthma. Our "Enhancing Care for Children with Asthma" project delivers training and resources to health care clinics serving large numbers of kids with asthma.
Learning About Asthma
Managing childhood asthma takes a team approach. It takes a parent or concerned caregiver, medical professionals, a pharmacist and other important people in a child's life to help give them the tools needed to manage asthma successfully.
Asthma is a chronic condition that must be controlled, but it can be managed with help and a good support team. The more you know about reducing the risk of attacks, avoiding triggers and managing medications, the more likely your child will have an active life by day and better sleep at night.
Learning that a child has asthma can be scary for a parent. The good news is that you can take control by making sure your child is getting the right treatment and that you know what to do if your child's asthma gets worse. Asthma can’t be cured, but it can be controlled so that your child can lead a normal, active life.
If you are a Blue Cross and Blue Shield member and don't have a regular pediatrician, visit our Provider Finder? to find one near you.
Nearly one in every ten school-age children in the U.S. has asthma. Severe asthma is associated with poor performance and missed school days. Schools can help by providing an environment that helps to minimize asthma triggers and by educating staff on how to assist students with childhood asthma.
Back to School with Asthma Toolkit
Almost seven million school-age children in the U.S. have asthma. Addressing asthma management in school can help ensure the health and safety of children with asthma, and reduce the amount of missed school days due to asthma.
The American Lung Association's Back to School with Asthma toolkit identifies the top ways schools can create an asthma-friendly school environment.
Open Airways for Schools Program
Elementary school children ages 8 to 11 can learn how to better manage their own asthma when they participate in the American Lung Association's Open Airways for Schools program. The program teaches children with asthma how to detect the warning signs of asthma, avoid their triggers and make decisions about their health.
For Health Professionals
Asthma affects one out of every ten school-age children in the U.S. every year. With the right care, these children can lead full and active lives.
Effective Care for Children with Asthma
There are four components to effectively caring for patients with childhood asthma.
- Assessment and Monitoring: Assessing the severity of asthma to initiate therapy to assessing level of control for adjusting therapy
- Education: Teaching children and parents how to self-manage symptoms and prevent flare-ups. This encompasses developing a written Asthma Action Plan in partnership with the patient, parent or other caregiver
- Control Environmental Factors and Comorbid Conditions: Recommending measures to control exposures to allergens and pollutants or irritants that make asthma worse, and treat comorbid conditions
- Select Medications and Delivery Devices: Meeting patient’s needs and circumstances
Guiding principles for providers are:
- Preventing chronic and troublesome symptoms
- Reducing impairment (Prevent chronic symptoms, achieve infrequent use of short-acting rescue inhalers, maintain [near] normal lung function, and gain normal activity levels)
- Reduce risk (Prevent exacerbations, minimize need for emergency care or hospitalization, prevent reduced lung growth, have minimal or no adverse effects of therapy)
- Step-down therapy: minimum medication necessary to maintain control
Six Clinical Practice Recommendations
The Guidelines Implementation Panel (GIP) Report: Partners Putting Guidelines into Action prioritized six clinical practice recommendations that could reduce both the individual and societal burden of asthma if implemented broadly. You can make a difference now by weaving these six GIP strategies into your own practice.
- Use inhaled corticosteroids to control asthma
- Use written Asthma Action Plans to guide patient self-management
- Assess asthma severity at the first visit to determine initial treatment
- Assess and monitor asthma control at each follow-up visit and adjust treatment if needed
- Schedule follow-up visits at periodic intervals
- Control exposure to allergens and irritants that worsen the patient's asthma
Resources for Physicians
- Asthma Basics Training Course is a free one-hour interactive online learning module designed to help people learn more about asthma. This course is ideal for frontline healthcare professionals.
- Lung Force Expos are a great opportunity for health care professionals to learn more about the latest trends, resources and research surrounding asthma, as well as lung cancer, COPD and other lung diseases. The one-day event features experts from a variety of lung health-related fields presenting on current research and hot topics.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Asthma Management and Prevention presentation offers pediatricians and primary care physicians in-depth information on the pathophysiology of asthma; prevalence, mortality and morbidity measures at the national level; risk factors; medical management and the public health response needed to successfully fight asthma.
- We follow the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute's Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma.
- The Physician Asthma Care Education program is a two-part, interactive, multi-media educational seminar to improve physician awareness, ability, and use of communication and therapeutic techniques for reducing the effects of asthma on children and their families.