Every week I am at a different school providing Fight Asthma Now (FAN), an asthma education program for students. The program is open to students with an asthma diagnosis and to students who are suspected of having asthma based on signs and symptoms. In my role as a health educator I meet with group of students for three days for 1-hour sessions. Students review warning signs, asthma triggers, asthma medications, and what to do when they are experiencing an asthma episode (attack). I have noticed during my service year that students are particularly interested when I take out the demonstration inhalers from my bag when discussing the asthma medication. Students immediately ask questions such as “How do you use that one?” I have observed in this lesson that students have a varying degree of knowledge about how to use their inhaler. I do my best to address any questions students may have about asthma medication. A recent article in the New York Times (2019) described the findings of a study in which children and even adults are incorrectly using their asthma medication which can impact the effectiveness of treatment. This emphasizes the intricacies of the health care system regarding communication and review of medication treatment with a patient. One of the main reasons that FAN is unique is that it gives the opportunity to provide information and remind students of the importance of self-advocacy. In addition, we are encouraging them to have conversations with their parents and guardians and health care providers too! As I continue to complete outreach to schools, I will continue to share with schools the barriers students may encounter and the importance of asthma education.
This blog was written by 2018-19 member Gabriela Munoz.
Gabriela serves as a Health Educator at Respiratory Health Association.