In the Air

Asthma News from the Landon Pediatric Foundation

On a recent evening, parents and children gathered in the auditorium at Cesar Chavez school, poring over a long questionnaire that tested participants' knowledge of the disease. Yolanda Anjuiano and her10-year-old son, Daniel, labored over the exam, an important tool to gauge how much they will learn during the program, which lasts eight sessions and will end in the spring. "If it's successful, if we can prove it makes a difference and we see that families are learning about asthma, then I think we might see the program extended," said Linda Butcher, a school nurse in Oxnard and one of dozens of volunteers who help run the program. The program is being sponsored by grants and equipped with supplies provided by the Schering Corp., ABT Associates and Key Pharmaceuticals. In coming weeks, families will learn more about the causes of asthma and about triggers such as dust and pets. And they will learn ways to control the disease, including through the regular use of preventive medications. Success will be measured by how much knowledge families gain and whether health educators can reduce the number of emergency room visits and amount of lost school time. "This is achievable knowledge," Landon said. "Instead of always being in the midst of emergencies, we are trying to help families practice for the future." 

The Breathmobile

The leading preventable cause of missed days from school is asthma. Working with health data information collected at Healthy Start sites at Harrington Elementary School, Cesar Chavez Elementary School, and Sheridan Way Elementary School children with chronic asthma have been screened and referred to convenient medical homes or seen on the school site in a mobile Disaster Response Vehicle. Using the Ventura County Public Health van for health care outreach when it is not being used for natural disasters has been spearheaded by Landon Pediatric Foundation Outreach Coordinator Patricia Gonzalez LVN in coordination with Healthy Start coordinators and school nurses. This service augments the Child Health and Disability screening and Immunization Outreach provided through out Ventura County at carnivals, Head Start sites and health fairs.

Asthma and Allergy Consortium

The ever increasing incidence of asthma and the escalating costs of patients, schools, and professionals not completely understanding all the tools available to control and treat asthma and allergy problems led to the formation of the Allergy and Asthma Consortium of Ventura County. Participants have included the American Lung Association of Ventura County, Ventura County Medical Center, Healthy Start schools, Ventura County Pharmacists Association, durable medical equipment companies, and medication manufacturers. Activities have included a speakers bureau, asthma camps, Open Airways, Asthma Roadways, Breathe Easier educational program , and the Asthma standards committee at Ventura County Medical Center. The Consortium hopes to develop a Breathe Easier Center of Excellence designation for hospitals, clinics, emergency rooms, and pharmacies. Field trips have been made to the Fresno American Lung Association.

Cross Cultural Asthma Education

Tremendous difficulties can occur when providers don't speak the language of their clients and don't recognize their culture of health care . Through the Consortium materials have been sought out in Spanish for Open Airways, Breathe Easier, and Asthma Roadways. Jorge Noran from Childrenís Hospital Los Angeles has lent a hand in developing the questionnaires and materials for the Asthma Roadways with an artistic editorial and presentation by Landon Pediatric Foundation administrative associate Gloria Camarillo. Itís the families that teach us the most as their quizzical looks help us to fine tune the materials.

Asthma Tips

The real message of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Asthma Guidelines Part II hasnít really changed - asthma is a disease of inflammation (swelling) of the bronchial tubes as well as bronchoconstriction (muscle tightening) of the bronchial tubes. Much more aggressive prevention with inhaled steroids and other medications now in development will normalize an asthmatics life. Use of the peak flow meter, knowledge of early warning signs and symptoms, and early use of steroids remain key to stopping the progression of an attack. With rising asthma death rates even in young asthmatics, it is important that all the members of the family and the childís life have a good understanding of asthma and its treatment.

Asthma Education Guide to the Internet

http://www.medmall.org/~medmall/specialties/asthma

It may look like a mouthful but itís really a lungfull - A one stop Asthma Resource Center sponsored by the Landon Pediatric Foundation on its Medical Mall website. Developed by Dr. Landon and webmaster Carl Demangate, sponsored by Abt Associates and Schering Laboratories, the site features RealVideo information in English and Spanish for home, hospital or doctorís office use. Hot links provide more downloadable tips for patient and clinician and allow for easy printing as handouts.

For more information regarding the Breathe Easier projects please contact Jerome Evans PhD at 805-289-3338 or email landon@rain.org.

Breathe Easier, Landon Pediatric Foundation, November 1997

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