Summer 2013
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Help Your Child Breathe Easier this Summer

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As kids spend time outside during the hot months in Central Texas, parents should be ready to protect them from the worst effects of ground-level ozone. Also known as smog, ground-level ozone is the section of earth’s atmosphere located nearest to us. Filled with pollutants, it can cause coughing and shortness of breath and can also be a trigger for asthma in children and adults.

High levels of air pollution can be harmful to children participating in outdoor activities – and those with breathing issues, like asthma, are even more susceptible. KidsHealth.org cautions parents that “exposure to pollutants in the air can cause flare-ups and may increase the chance of upper respiratory infections.” In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports an increase in respiratory hospital visits during the summertime.

How Can you Protect your Child?

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends creating an Asthma Action Plan, a written strategy developed with your child’s physician. It can include daily treatments, information about controlling asthma long term and ways to manage worsening asthma or attacks. Be sure anyone who cares for your child has a copy of this action plan, including the school nurse. According to Sally Freeman, MSN, RN, director of AISD Student Health Services, “The school nurse will use the asthma action plan to ensure your child’s asthma is safely managed in the school setting.”

You can also watch for pollution reports on TV or in the newspaper to help determine when ozone action days might occur. On those days, limit your child’s outdoor activities during peak hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Another way to check air quality in your area is via the AirNow website. There you can learn how clean or polluted the outdoor air is and also get a list of related health effects. Don’t let the ground-level ozone and asthma slow your child down! Take the necessary precautions to make sure his or her asthma is being handled effectively.

Sources:

AirNow – Air Quality Index
Asthma Action Plan
Kids & Asthma
Environmental Protection Agency
KidsHealth.org

Help Your Child Breathe Easier this Summer
goodhealth.com


Good Health for Kids is produced by Dell Children's Medical Center of Central Texas.