Mid Coast Hospital Helps Parents with Back-to-School 'Asthma Action Plans'

Each year, as children head back to school, those with asthma must provide their school with updated Maine Asthma Action Plans. An asthma action plan is a written strategy that is developed in conjunction with a certified healthcare professional to help control a patient’s asthma. It shows daily treatment such as what kind of medicines to take, when to take the medications, describes how to control asthma symptoms long-term and indicates how to handle worsening asthma or attacks. Guidelines on when to call the doctor or when to go to the emergency room are also included.

Mid Coast Hospital has an Asthma Education Program to support the management of asthma in children and adults. Certified Asthma Educator, Meredith Smithson, RN, BSN, AE-C is available to assist families in drafting their Maine Asthma Action plans for the new school year.

Asthma is a condition in which an individual’s airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus, which can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. For some people, asthma is a minor nuisance. For others, it can be a severe problem that interferes with daily activities. While asthma can't be cured, its symptoms can be controlled. Because asthma often changes over time, it is important for anyone with asthma to work with a healthcare professional to track their signs and symptoms and adjust their treatment as needed.

“Studies show that following a written asthma action plan can lead to fewer asthma attacks and better disease management,” noted Meredith Smithson, Mid Coast Hospital's Asthma Nurse Educator. "My family and I have experienced first hand the effects of asthma on work and school performance," she says. "Asthma education helped us immensely."

As a Certified Asthma Educator, Smithson is available to counsel patients about medications, delivery devices, and the management of asthma "triggers" so individuals with the condition can enjoy an optimal quality of life. She is also available for one-on-one personalized consultation and can provide help with medications and devices.

If your child has asthma, all of the people who care for him or her should know about the child's asthma action plan including babysitters and workers at daycare centers, schools, and camps. These caretakers can help your child follow his or her action plan.

For more information on Asthma Action Plans or Asthma Education, please call Meredith Smithson at (207) 373-6595 or visit www.midcoasthealth.com/asthma.