Asthma in School Age Children

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Asthma in School Age Children as a Public Health Concern
Patti Elmiger
NS 521 Community Health Nursing Principles and Theories
October 3, 2012

In Charlestown, Massachusetts, The Kennedy Center’s Head Start Program provides early educational services to low income families residing in the community. The program works with children as well as their parents to establish healthier lifestyles despite their limited resources. A major public health concern for this vulnerable population is that of asthma. The role of the public health nurse is to raise awareness and work with the parents and children to help prevent and reduce the risk of this environmental health concern. In addition, by working with health care agencies, the public health nurse can help find services for families who lack insurance to ensure that their children receive the screening and care needed to identify and manage asthma incidences.

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways leading to wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and cough (Lewis, Dirksen, Heitkemper, Bucher, & Camera, 2011, p.588). Asthma attacks can range from a mild interference of breathing to more serious, life-threatening emergencies. Attacks can be triggered by a number of factors including air pollution, exposure to cigarette smoke, allergen inhalation, exercise, and unhealthy living conditions. In children, asthma can affect their quality of life physically, socially, and emotionally. With medication and avoidance of environmental triggers, symptoms can be reduced. Medications to treat asthma are principally glucocorticoids (anti-inflammatory agents) and beta2 agonists (bronchodilators). Treatment with these medications can result in enhanced therapeutic effects, minimized systemic effects, and rapid relief of acute affects (Lenhe, 2013, p.959). With proper treatment, most children have the ability to lead full lives with no limitation. This presents a major problem for...
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