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American Lung Association Offers Parents Seven “Back to School” Tips for Kids with Asthma


Your Child’s Inhaler May Soon be Unavailable at Your Local Pharmacy

American Lung Association Recommends Parents Take Seven Simple Steps to Ready Kids with Asthma for School

WASHINGTON, D.C., August, 6, 2008— Nearly 11% of children headed back to school this fall have asthma. Annually, school aged children with asthma miss just under 13 million days in the classroom making asthma related illness one of the most common reasons kids are absent from school. The American Lung Association offers parents a seven step checklist to ensure a safe and healthy school year for children who suffer from this sometimes debilitating disease.

To minimize asthma’s grip on this school year ahead, parents must first be aware that per government regulation, manufacturers are phasing out production of a common type of albuterol inhaler, often called a CFC inhaler. By December 31, 2008, CFC inhalers will not be available to the consumer public and will be replaced by an HFA inhaler.

The FDA has found that HFA inhalers are safe and just as effective as their CFC counterparts. One significant difference is that HFA inhalers do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals found in CFC inhalers.

“Some kids might find their new inhaler has a slightly different taste or feel,” said Norman Edelman, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the American Lung Association. “Also be aware that your pharmacy won’t be able to simply substitute the new HFA inhaler for your existing CFC inhaler prescription. Your child’s doctor will need to write a new prescription.”

“It is also important for parents to confer with their child’s doctor to ensure each of their asthma prescriptions are current and are best managing the child’s symptoms. This should be done at least once a year.” Dr. Edelman added.

In preparation for the school year ahead, the American Lung Association also urges parents who have children with asthma complete the following checklist:

* Schedule Asthma Check-up Doctor’s Appointment
Even if your child’s asthma is well managed, scheduling a check up with your pediatrician is critical to ensuring your child’s asthma continues to be effectively controlled. This is also an opportunity to evaluate medications and physical activity restrictions.

* Confirm Medicines Are Up-to-Date and Fill Prescriptions
If your child uses an inhaler, ensure you have a current prescription for an HFA inhaler. Check your medicine cabinet to ensure your child’s asthma prescriptions have sufficient refills available and have not expired.

* Know About Prescription Assistance Services
No one should have to do without their asthma medications because of financial need. Two organizations are available to help. The Partnership for Prescription Assistance can be reached by calling 1-888-4PPA-NOW. Rx Outreach also provides information on their website:

* Asthma Action Plan
All students with asthma should have a written Asthma Action Plan that details personal information about the child’s asthma symptoms, medications, any physical activity limitations and provides specific instructions about what to do if an asthma attack does not improve with prescribed medication.

* Visit Your Child’s School Nurse and Teachers
All of the student’s teachers, coaches, as well as the school nurse and/or office should have a current copy of their Asthma Action Plan. Discuss with your child’s teachers specific triggers and typical symptoms so that they can be prepared to effectively assist your child should an asthma attack occur during the school day.

* Advocate for Your Child
It is also important to learn if your child’s school allows students to carry and independently administer their asthma medication. Some schools require students to carry a note from their doctor. Learn what steps need to be taken to have your child carry and use their inhaler if recommended by their doctor.

* Know Your School’s Asthma Emergency Plan
Ensure that your child’s school knows how to contact you in case of an emergency. It is also important for parents to know the school’s past history of dealing with asthma episodes. Parents should confirm that school staff— including after-school coaches and bus drivers have been trained in responding to asthma emergencies.

For additional information on asthma and children, visit or call 1-800-LUNG-USA.

About the American Lung Association: Beginning our second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Lung disease death rates are currently increasing while other major causes of death are declining. The American Lung Association funds vital research on the causes of and treatments for lung disease. With the generous support of the public, the American Lung Association is “Improving life, one breath at a time.” For more information about the American Lung Association or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or log on to


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