It is estimated that more than 25 million people live with asthma in the United States and many of them are children whose families are unaware they have the disease.
The Asthma Center is dedicated to increasing awareness about asthma and the treatment options that are crucial to improving children’s outcomes. While asthma can be controlled, there is no cure. A child’s well-being and quality of life is dependent on the entire family’s understanding of an individualized treatment plan and immediate action when an asthma attack starts.
The Asthma Center’s signature program, Easy Breathing©, is a community-based asthma management program that translates the national asthma guidelines into a usable format for pediatricians and other health care providers. The program ensures that children, families, and physicians work together to manage asthma symptoms.
One of the Asthma Center’s key initiatives involves creating an “asthma neighborhood” in support of children and families affected by the condition. Researchers, families affected by asthma, the faith community, physicians, schools, pharmacies, community organizations and other stakeholders joined together to conduct a community needs assessment on asthma. The group also worked together to develop a clinical trial that will integrate four proven programs, including Easy Breathing, into a new model of care in the hopes of decreasing asthma-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and school absences.
The Asthma Center was established in March 2001 based on the success of Easy Breathing, which changed pediatric asthma management throughout Connecticut.
To keep airway inflammation to a minimum and to reduce symptoms, it is important to reduce and limit exposure to triggers that may bring on an asthma attack. Every child has different triggers, causing inflammation in the airways which then leads to asthma symptoms.
Common asthma triggers include:
- Cold air
- Cold or other illness
- Dust and dust mites
- Strong smells, sprays and perfumes
Treatments to help control asthma are determined based on the severity of the child’s condition and the child’s specific triggers. A variety of asthma medications and treatments exist ranging from treatments that are appropriate for daily use, to treatments that are used when a child is sick, to emergency therapy.
Follow up appointments are important for making sure a child’s asthma is under control. They give children and families the chance to ask questions about treatment plans. They also give physicians an opportunity to make sure a child is using the asthma medications correctly.
The infrastructure of the Asthma Center is supported by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, while specific programs and activities are supported through outside grants.