Asthma is a lung disease that makes it hard to breathe due to swollen airways and an increase of mucus in the lungs. Almost 8% of children are affected by the disease. While there’s no cure for asthma, it can usually be managed with plans from health professionals.
As a caregiver, parent, babysitter, or other facilitator, we know you have a lot on your plate keep your family members safe, especially if they might have asthma. Use our lesson plans to start open conversations about asthma at home, encourage curiosity about health and the body, and inspire discussions about treating others with kindness.
Our lessons are designed for grades K-5 with the flexibility for you to decide how much depth is appropriate for your children. The activities themselves usually take about 5-10 minutes; full lessons might be 20+ minutes with lots of conversation! Most of the materials should be easy to find around the house; feel free to reach out if you want to brainstorm alternatives.
|Asthma Lessons||An Air Affair||Brush Up on Breathing||Mucus Madness||The Nose Knows|
|Description||We need oxygen for our bodies to function, and the lungs help us get the air we need!||Lungs are pink and spongy and fill up with air when we breathe in.||Sticky, ooey-gooey mucus sometimes makes it hard to breathe.||Different things in the environment can affect how we breathe.|
Disclaimer: always follow the guidance of your child’s doctor-perscribed asthma action plan.
Asthma triggers are things in the environment that might cause an asthma flare-up (when symptoms happen). During a flare-up, the lungs get irritated and inflamed and produce a lot of mucus, which can clog the swollen airways and make it difficult to get air into and out of the lungs.
Asthma symptoms include wheezing, coughing, tightness of the chest or shortness or breath.
When asthma symptoms appear, your family member may need to access his or her emergency inhaler immediately. Make sure you know where to access this (for example, do you carry it with you when you go to the park? Is it in the bathroom, or your child’s room?). If asthma symptoms persist or do not get better, children may require urgent visits to doctors’ offices or the emergency room.
People with asthma may:
- need to take oral or inhaled medicine (as preventative and/or emergency symptom management)
- feel jittery, hyper, or strange after using inhalers
- require the removal of allergens in the home that can trigger flare-ups
- need to avoid physical activities when they have flare-ups
What You Can Do
Work with your child’s doctor to identify his or her asthma triggers and try to reduce or remove them from the home.
Bullies might target students who seem “different,” so talking with your participants about asthma and kindness may be beneficial. For a free, PDF book on asthma, please see “All About Asthma” (appropriate for K-5). Use our lesson plans to encourage open conversation and discussion about asthma, healthy lungs and other health topics.
Keep in mind that children with asthma can participate in school sports, phys-ed, and other activities, but may need to use their inhalers before/after participating in physical activities. They might have to take other precautions to avoid flare-ups — check with your students’ parents.
Make sure your students with asthma have written instructions from their doctor (called an asthma action plan), which tells them how to prevent and manage flare-ups. You should know your students’ asthma triggers and let them use their medicine when needed.