Asthma Tool Kit

Asthma

Asthma currently affects about 25 million people in the United States, including over seven million children.  In the US, it accounts for 14.2 million missed work days, 10.5 million missed school days, 1.9 million ED visits , 479,000 hospitalizations, and over  3000 deaths .  13.4% of children in Virginia have asthma. Health districts with the highest asthma prevalence represent Central, Eastern, and Southwest regions. With the right care, most children with asthma can have a good quality of life with minimal symptoms and few if any asthma flare-ups. The most recent set of asthma guidelines issued by the NHLBI’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program in 2007 encourages six key actions for improving asthma care.

These actions emphasize the importance of assessing asthma severity and monitoring asthma control to guide treatment decisions.

  1. Use inhaled corticosteroids for persistent asthma
  2. Use written asthma action plans with goals of therapy and plans for exacerbations
  3. Assess asthma severity based on impairment and risk
  4. Monitor asthma control-using symptom history as well as formal tools such as spirometry.
  5. Schedule follow up visits-provide routine education on patient self management, medication use
  6. Control environmental exposures such as environmental tobacco smoke

At minimum it has been shown that   providers can decrease ED visits and hospitalizations for their patients by

  • classifying severity
  • providing a written management plan,  and
  • prescribing a  controller medicine for persistent asthmatics

An estimated 400,000 to one million children with asthma have their condition worsened by exposure to secondhand smoke. Caregivers who wish to quit can be referred to 1-800-QUIT-NOW