Asthma is a lung disease with recurring episodes which cause
wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and coughing.
Airways become smaller from inflammation and mucus inside the
airway and muscle tightening on the outside of the airway. Asthma
airways are sensitive and react or become narrow when a person
breathes in anything irritating to the lungs. These irritants are called triggers, and identifying them is essential to treatment and prevention. Medications
are used to control asthma since there is no cure and it may last a
Who is impacted?
Asthma is one of the most common long-term illnesses in
children. An average of one of every 10 school-aged children has
asthma, and each year they miss 13 million school days. It is also
the third-most common reason children under 15 go to the
hospital. African Americans and Hispanics are impacted by asthma
more than any other group.
What does this all mean?
An Asthma Action Plan (AAP) is recommended by the National
Asthma Guidelines to help each family manage asthma at home. The key is to
prevent asthma attacks by avoiding triggers. The AAP also describes
what to do during an asthma episode and when to get emergency care. Each children's hospital should include five components
into their AAP:
- A provider orders the AAP.
- The AAP needs to be in an easy to read format.
- Asthma triggers for that patient need to be included on the
- Written information with the AAP is given to the patient prior
to leaving the hospital.
- The patient's primary physician information should be on the
Our goal is for 100 percent of all patients to have an AAP that contains
all required information. Though we have not reached this
goal, we have made great improvements since the beginning of 2009.
Where can I go for more information?
To learn more about asthma, please use the following
Learn more about Allergy and Immunology services at Children's Mercy.