Today, there are a lot of chronic diseases known to man. Of these, one of the most common is Asthma. Asthma is an English word derived from the Greek word for panting. Although it shares a lot of characteristics with other chronic inflammatory diseases, asthma is distinguished from the other diseases due to its symptoms. This inflammatory disease that affects the airwaves is presented in both recurring and variable symptoms. The major symptoms are reversible airflow obstruction, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing. The cause of this disease is diversified over a number of environmental and genetic factors. Most cases of this disease are a combination of both the environmental and genetic factors. To effectively diagnose this disease, diagnosticians study the patterns presented in the different symptoms as well as the patient’s response to the therapy being offered. Spirometry is also an important factor to take into consideration with regards to the diagnosis of asthma. Spirometry is a comprehensive test through which the functioning of the lungs is tested. Here, the pulmonary function tests are the basis through which spirometry takes place. The main functionary elements under test here are volume and speed. Although there are different test undertaken within the broader scope of spirometry, the main elements being tested in are the volume of air that can be contained in the lungs and the speed through which the various inhalation and exhalation processes take place (Harver & Kotses, 2010).
One of the main distinctions that exist with regards to this disease is brought out in its classification. Unlike other similar medical conditions, asthma is clinically classified in accordance to peak expiratory flow rate, forced expiratory volume, and the frequency of the various symptoms. The main way through which symptoms are avoided is through avoiding the various triggers and irritants. Asthma manifests differently in people from different age brackets. The manner in which the disease is presented in children below the age of five years is different compared to their adolescents’ counterparts. From the symptoms of the disease, it is evident to note that there is a great deal of discomfort presented through the disease. Management of the disease is also different in patients of different ages. Just as the other medical conditions, Asthma is best managed in the event it is detected in its early stages (Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
Although there have been numerous advancements in medicine, both the rate of mortality and morbidity continues to increase in children. Advancements in medicine have provided the required tools and techniques to effective handle asthma. In handling asthma, the relevant information required so as effectively to detect and manage the disease. One of the greatest concerns to take note of with regards to the increased mortality is the management practices in place. Traditionally, management of this medical condition is children have been centered on the combination of beta-agonists and anti-inflammatory medications. The over usage of these drugs is one of the main reasons behind the increase mortality levels. One of the developments that has been made with regards to this disease is the discovery of airway inflammation in mild cases of asthma in children. Combined with the fact that inflammatory stimuli have a tendency of increasing the airway responsiveness, this has led to the utilization of anti-inflammatory medication. It is however important to note that not all asthma patients have the same response with regards to the activity of anti-inflammatory medication. The current concepts that shape up the administration and development of medication with regards to child management of asthma have presented as being overly simplistic. Corticosteroids have always played an important role with regards to the management of this medical condition. Although this has been the case, modern research shows that the current concepts employed in managing this condition in children are very simplistic. This creates the urgent need for all the parties involved to ensure that optimal therapy is maintained at the highest levels of effectiveness (Harver & Kotses, 2010).
. Children who suffer from this medical condition have to adjust their lifestyles to manage activities outside their medical condition. One of the most important factors to take note of is education. Unlike normal children, children with this medical condition are forced to take into account special factors when deciding the school to be attended and the manner in which school activities will be taken care of(Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
The number of children who miss school due to asthma or asthma related conditions has been on the increase. Over the course of the past 2 years, this number has more than doubled. Due to asthma related complications, over 80 percent of the student population affected by this disease misses between five and seven weeks of school every year. This has led to different initiatives aimed at ensuring that children with asthma and asthma related conditions are not only kept in school, but also provided with an environment through which they can conduct their studies effectively (Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
In any initiative that is aimed towards addressing asthma within any environment, the nature and level of asthma sensitization education within that community is the first – and most important – element to take note of. Within the school environment, the nature and level of information possessed by both the school staff and the other parties is of great importance. The initiative developed to address this problem started off by conductive extensive research so as to ascertain the awareness level of the teaching staff with regards to this problem (Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
In the course of addressing the problem presented by asthma within the various school attendance programs, there are different stakeholders who are important to address. Some of the stakeholders include the education authorities, school staff, parents, students, and guardians. One of the greatest steps that were taken with regards to addressing the issue of asthma within the school setting is dealing with the various irritants and allergens. Working in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Environmental Health instituted measures through which air quality in the various learning institutions was to be maintained at the required safety levels. This was instituted alongside strict measures to ensure that all types of mold within the classrooms were taken care of. Any substance that was bound to either pollute the air and or trigger an asthmatic attack was taken care of effectively. A year after these measures were instituted the number of children who missed school due to asthma and asthmatic related conditions dropped by more than 40 percent. These measures were also effective in handling the issue of comfortability presented by the inhaler. In order to be secure from abrupt attacks, children are usually advised to carry inhalers everywhere they go. Unlike in the open or within the home setting, the school environment presents some of the worst challenges with regards to using inhalers. There have been numerous cases reported; where students reported of how intimidated they felt while using inhalers within the school setting. This lowers the effectiveness rate with regards to management of the medical condition within the school setting. The move to ensure air is kept clean within the learning environment slashed the need to carry inhalers to school by over 60 percent within the first year (Harver & Kotses, 2010).
Costs are always a concern in the implementation of any initiative. The implementation of a safer learning environment through educating the relevant parties on the importance of an allergen-free environment and ensuring the air within the learning environment is maintained at clean levels had very minor costs. Compared to the results – in both the short and long terms – the amount of resources required to effectively implement the changes presented in the initiative were negligible compared to the end result of the entire initiative (Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
The achievement of optimum results in the process of combating the absenteeism resulting from asthma and asthma related cases is dependent on the nature and level of involvement by the various stakeholders. So as to achieve the optimum results, the – active and efficient - involvement of community partners, parents, government agencies, and teachers is not an option. It is also important to ensure that the initiatives are designed with the element of expansion in mind. Once the initiative has been proven to be effective, it should be implemented in other schools and educational institutions throughout the immediate environment. In handling the various challenges that are presented in asthma – and the absenteeism caused therein – the government is the chief source of funds and financial assistance required to see the various initiatives through. Legislation is also of great importance with regards to addressing this topic effectively. The government should be on the forefront in implementing the required legal stipulations outlined in the initiatives aimed at making the school environment better and asthma free. For instance, legislation is vital in the control of certain chemicals used within the school setting that act as triggers and allergens. The training of teachers and school staff with regards to the prevention mechanisms and handling emergencies also requires the input of legislative and educational authorities (Harver & Kotses, 2010).
In conclusion, it is evident to note that asthma is an important topic within the learning environment. Within the different schools, asthma accounts for between 50 and 90 percent of the total absentees. Children suffering from asthma and asthma related conditions are affected by worst affected with regards to the changes in weather and environmental conditions. Addressing the problem presented by this medical condition calls for the active involvement of different stakeholders. Some of the most important parties – who are also best placed in addressing these challenges include – the parents, community partners, government agencies, and teachers. The teachers and parents have been bestowed by the greatest level of responsibility as presented in the various interactions between children suffering from this medical condition and those around them. Parents and teachers form the immediate interaction group with regards to children suffering from asthma and asthma related conditions. The key to achieving the best results in dealing with the challenges presented in asthma and asthma related conditions lies in the effective input by the various stakeholders involved herein (Children's & Allen & Bryant-Stephens, 2005).
Children's, H. P., Allen, M. D. J. L., & Bryant-Stephens, M. D. T. (2005). The Children's
Hospital of Philadelphia Guide to Asthma: How to Help Your Child Live a Healthier
Life. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Harver, A., & Kotses, H. (2010). Asthma, health and society: A public health perspective. New
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