By Margaret Vasil, AE-C
Henry J. Austin Health Center
Lilly was concerned about her two year old daughter, Shana, because her asthma symptoms were still causing sleepless nights. Shana’s child care program told Lilly about the AIM (Asthma Improves with Management) Program at our health center. When Lilly came to the first session of our program she was worried and exhausted. As a working mother with two other children to care for and many responsibilities she needed help getting Shana’s asthma under control.
First we reviewed Shana’s Asthma Treatment Plan and the doctor’s recommendations to be sure Lilly was following the plan he had written for Shana, and she was. I then talked with Lilly about triggers, things that can make Shana’s asthma worse. I showed her the Trigger Tracker, a tool that helps you identify your personal triggers. At first Lilly thought that the Trigger Tracker looked like a lot of work, so we talked about the process and tried a few examples. Lilly quickly recognized that it was a good way to focus on the problem and she could easily circle the areas of concern. I gave Lilly several copies of the Trigger Tracker and instructed her to keep them in a handy spot, such as clipping them to the refrigerator door.
Lilly also shared the Trigger Tracker with Shana’s Child Care provider to see if there were specific triggers at the center. Lilly kept the Trigger Tracker diary for several weeks, and took them to Shana’s next doctor’s visit. When Lilly and her doctor reviewed the Trigger Tracker, they saw a pattern emerge: when Shana was outdoors playing in the hot weather, and when cleaning chemicals had been used both at home and at Child Care, Shana had more asthma symptoms.
Because Lilly worked during the day, she would dust and clean her home in the evening. She never thought that the dust and “clean” scent of the detergents and air fresheners were actually making Shana’s asthma worse. Now Lilly has a better picture of what Shana’s triggers are.
Lilly switched to natural cleaning products and dusting with a damp cloth, keeping Shana out of the area where she was cleaning. Shana was also exposed to similar triggers at Child Care, so her provider also took steps to reduce her exposures there. Both Lilly and her Child Care provider began following Air Quality guidelines, making it better for Shana and all the children in the child care center.
Lilly recommends using the Trigger Tracker to others. “It helped me focus my attention on Shana’s symptoms. After using it we were able to see what was causing her asthma to become worse, and we made the necessary changes for her. Shana’s asthma has been much better. We all are doing better. I don’t miss the detergents and air fresheners, and I am actually saving money using natural cleaning methods.” She adds with a smile, “now if I could just get someone else to DO the cleaning…”
|Do You Know What Makes Your Asthma Worse?
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Use the Trigger Tracker
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