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Last Updated: 04/12/2018

Disability Information - Asthma


General Information

Education & Classroom Accommodations

Michigan Resources, Support Groups, Listservs & Websites

National Resources & Websites

Articles Related to this Disability

Medical Information

Books & Videos


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General Information


More than 17 million people, including close to five million children, in the United States have asthma. Asthma is a chronic disease in which airflow in and out of the lungs may be blocked by muscle squeezing, swelling and excess mucus. Patients with asthma may respond to factors in the environment, called triggers, which do not affect non-asthmatics. In response to a trigger, an asthmatic's airways become narrowed and inflamed, resulting in wheezing and/or coughing symptoms.  Click here to read more.


Click here to download the free Arthur (PBS) Asthma Guide for kids. 


Download "All About Asthma" in English. (pdf) - The "All about Asthma" storybook is also available in Spanish through an unrestricted educational grant Download "All About Asthma" in Spanish. (pdf)


Introduction to Asthma
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Asthma is Reversible Obstructive Airway Disease. Air reaches the lung by passing through the windpipe (trachea), which divides into two large tubes (bronchi), one for each lung. Each bronchi further divides into many little tubes (bronchioles), which eventually lead to tiny air sacs (alveoli), in which oxygen from the air is transferred to the bloodstream, and carbon dioxide from the bloodstream is transferred to the air. Asthma involves only the airways (bronchi and bronchioles), and not the air sacs. The airways trap airborne particles in a thin layer of mucus which covers their surface. The mucus is either coughed-up or swept up into the trachea by cilia, tiny hairs on the lining of the airways. Once the mucus reaches the throat, it can again be coughed up or swallowed.

Asthma Basics
In many people, asthma appears to be an allergic reaction to substances commonly breathed in through the air, such as animal dander, pollen, or dust mite and cockroach waste products.

Asthma may resemble other respiratory problems such as emphysema, bronchitis, and lower respiratory infections. It is under-diagnosed -- many people with the disease do not know they have it.

Asthma Tutorial
Children's Medical Center of the University of Virginia
Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system. Your respiratory system is made up of your nose and mouth, your windpipe (also called your trachea, pronounced tray-key-uh), your lungs, and a bunch of air tubes (or airways) that connect your nose and mouth with your lungs (these tubes are called bronchi and bronchioles, prounounced bron-kye and bron-key-oles).

Children and Asthma
Kathryn Brown,,166593_126677,00.html
Up to 80 percent of kids with asthma develop the condition before they turn 5 years old. Diagnosing asthma in this age group can be tricky. For one thing, all that wheezes is not asthma -- even the healthiest kids battle bouts of sniffles. How can you tell if asthma is the culprit? Often times, the condition begins as a lingering cold. If your child seems wheezy or coughs for more than a few days or a week--about the time it takes for a cold to lift--call your pediatrician.

Asthma in Children
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Food allergy is a common and often neglected cause of asthma in children. In a group of 320 allergic children with eczema, 55% had asthma. Food challenges triggered respiratory symptoms in 59% of including nose congestion, laryngeal edema, wheezing, and shortness of breath. Gastrointestinal symptoms occurred in 41% of positive challenges.

Asthma School
Aurora Health Care
Treat a child for asthma and you give her hope. Teach a child, her family, her teachers and friends about asthma and you change her life. It seems simple enough - so why hasn’t it been done that way all along? We pondered that question, and then introduced the Aurora Asthma School.

Asthma Frequent Questions
Asthma is a lung disease that can be life threatening.

Breathing Better: Action Plans Keep Asthma in Check
By Michelle Meadows
During the mid-1980s, Sandra Fusco-Walker's life was filled with sleepless nights, ruined vacations, emergency room visits, and her children's frequent school absences. Two of her three children--all under age 6 at the time--had asthma.

Airborne Asthma
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Airborne allergens and chemicals cause respiratory disease - inflammation in the nose and in the lung. Lung inflammation is often expressed as asthma. Air pollution, both indoor and outdoor, plays a significant role in the exacerbation of airway disease in asthmatics and may contribute to the overall increase in asthma morbidity.

Food Allergy & Asthma
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Food allergy can cause both immediate and delayed patterns of asthma. Immediate food reactions can cause sudden, dramatic and life-threatening asthma is one of the consequences of anaphylactic reactions to food. Delayed patterns of food allergy can cause chronic asthma and/or bronchitis and are among the most neglected causes of chronic or "intrinsic" asthma. Diet revision can sometimes resolve chronic and severe asthma.

Asthma Flare-ups
To keep your asthma under control, you need to know what to do when you have a flare-up of symptoms (sometimes called an “exacerbation” or an “asthma attack”).

Asthma Attacks
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
An asthma attack is any shortness of breath which requires either medication or some other form of intervention for the asthmatic to breathe normally again. Wheezing is often associated with the attack - whistling or rattling sounds occur when air flows through obstructed airways. Wheezing starts with exhalation, or breathing out, but as the attack progresses, wheezing may then be heard both while inhaling and exhaling. If the attack progresses further, the asthmatic may stop wheezing as small airways become completely blocked.

Diet and asthma in babies
National Asthma Campaign
This fact sheet attempts to give some answers, based on the current expert medical knowledge.

Chronic Asthma
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
While there are patients who just have hay fever and occasional asthma attacks as discrete events and are healthy between pollen or other allergen exposures there is larger group of patients who develop more chronic symptoms. Coughing, shortness of breath and wheezing may occur everyday or most days. Often several medications on a regular schedule are required everyday. With continued antigenic exposure a chronic cell-mediated inflammation takes over. The chronic state is more difficult to characterize and understand. Persistent and recurrent symptoms that require daily medication are suggestive of delayed pattern food allergy. We encourage everyone with chronic or frequently recurrent asthma to try diet revision.

Asthma Action Plan
To manage your asthma, you need to keep track of your symptoms, your medicine use and your peak expiratory flow (PEF).

Asthma: A Concern for Minority Populations
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Allergic diseases, including asthma, are among the major causes of illness and disability in the United States. Illness and death from asthma have been increasing in this country for the past 15 years and are particularly high among poor, African-American inner-city residents.

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Education & Classroom Accommodations


Asthma Action Plan
The fill-in-the-blank format makes it easy to customize these documents with your personal information.

Just For Kids: Camping with Allergies & Asthma
Do you think you can identify the allergy and asthma triggers that might be lurking outdoors?

School pack
National Asthma Campaign
The following document contains information about coping with asthma in schools taken from the National Asthma Campaign's School Pack.

Severe asthma at school
National Asthma Campaign
As a parent of a child who is severely affected by asthma, it is important for you to know that you have both rights and responsibilities to ensure that your child gets the most out of school.

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Michigan Resources, Support Groups, Listservs & Websites


A Michigan-specific, comprehensive site for all asthma related information for the community, parents, schools, students, professionals, etc. is at


Hospitalized for Asthma: Michigan Counties According to Rate, Ages 1-14

(Average 1998-2000)

Asthma Initiative of Michigan

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National Resources & Websites


Download the CDC's Guide "Strategies for Asthma" (pdf). 


Health Journals for Parents of Kids with Special Needs - "When my daughter was diagnosed, I created a health journal to help organize all of her medical information. Soon, the clinic asked me to make 40 more for the other parents." The Little Acorn now offers many versions of this book which have been customized to fit specific disabilities. Visit the website for more details or to order. Available items (New products added often - see website for current offerings): "Juggling Autism" Starter Kit, "Juggling Cystic Fibrosis” Starter Kit, "Juggling Down Syndrome” Starter Kit, "Juggling Cerebral Palsy" Starter Kit, "Juggling Asthma" Starter Kit, "Juggling Diabetes" Starter Kit, "Healthy Kids” Starter Kit, "A Woman's Health Journal", and "The Courage Book”


Ed’s Asthma Tracks

Asthma Parents Discussion List Yahoo Group
This discussion group is provided by Ed's Asthma Track for parents of children with asthma to discuss their questions and concerns.

Asthma Parents Online Discussion Forum


Facilitates communication of accurate allergy and asthma information among patients, parents, physicians, schools, and industry in an effort to help families create a management program for children who have allergies and asthma. Provides emotional support to individuals and their families with allergies and asthma. Promotes the Bill of Rights for Children With Allergies and Asthma.

2751 Prosperity Avenue, Suite 150
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: 800/878-4403 or 703/385-4403
Fax: 703/573-7794

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America is a not-for-profit, voluntary health organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with asthma and allergies and their caregivers through education, research and advocacy.

1233 20th Street, NW, Suite 402
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 800-7-ASTHMA (800-727-8462) or 202/466-7643
Fax: 202/466-8940

Alabama Chapter:
Florida Chapter:
Maryland/Washington DC Chapter:
North Texas Chapter: 
Southern California Chapter:
Washington Chapter:

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Articles Related to this Disability


Web-Based Asthma Program Helps Kids Manage Symptoms - An Internet asthma-management program is highly effective in helping low-income black students manage asthma, according to a study at Detroit's Henry Ford Health System published in the first May issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The "Puff City" program teaches teens to focus on three core behaviors: medication adherence, rescue inhaler availability and quitting or reducing smoking.


Inside the Nation’s Asthma Mobiles - Childhood asthma rates are on the rise, especially among kids who live in urban areas. More and more cities are taking steps to help. Here, Connect for Kids highlights several urban asthma mobiles across the U.S. that are being used to treat the symptoms of asthma, and to educate parents and children about how to effectively manage this chronic condition.


U.S. The Old Yellow School Bus As a Threat - A concerted effort has sprung up to fight exposure of children to toxic diesel exhaust. The EPA judges diesel fuel to be one of the most harmful air pollutants, and many studies have shown a correlation between the chemicals in diesel exhaust and increased respiratory illness. [Source]


Asthma Could be Several Diseases Masquerading as One - Age at onset and inflammatory cells define patient subsets, guide treatment.

OH Neighbors of Vast Hog Farms Say Foul Air Endangers Their Health - Around industrial hog farms across the country, people say their sickness rolls in with the wind. It brings headaches that do not go away and trips to the emergency room for children whose lungs suddenly close up. People young and old have become familiar with inhalers, nebulizers and oxygen tanks. They complain of diarrhea, nosebleeds, earaches and lung burns.


Read the article "NIH Launches Nationwide Research to Reduce Asthma in Inner-city Children" - click here.


Asthma children 'get raw deal'
Campaigners have attacked government "indifference" towards asthma, which they say is now the most common long-term childhood illness.

FDA Approves First Biologic for Allergy-Related Asthma
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today approved the first biotechnology product to treat patients with a type of asthma that is related to allergies.

Pool staff in asthma link
People working in indoor swimming pools could be at risk of developing asthma, researchers suggest.

Urban air 'worsens asthma'
Air which passes US quality standards can still cause breathing problems in children with asthma, research suggests.

Enzyme May Play Unexpected Role in Asthma
In a finding that could have important implications for the millions of Americans who suffer from asthma, researchers funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have discovered novel sets of genes possibly involved in the disease.

Asthma patients 'miss out'
People with asthma are missing out on essential treatment because they are not going to the doctor, research suggests.

Poor housing 'causing child illness'
Children in run-down housing are suffering from serious and prolonged illnesses exacerbated by the appalling conditions in which they live, a report says.

Parenting link to asthma
Researchers have found that psychological factors may increase the likelihood that children whose genetic make-up makes them vulnerable to asthma will actually develop the condition.

FDA Clears New Breath Test for Monitoring Asthma
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today cleared for marketing a first-of-a-kind, non-invasive test system to measure the concentration of nitric oxide in exhaled human breath. The test system should help make it easier for doctors to monitor a patient's asthma.

How to make bedrooms 'allergy-proof'
Simple household cleanliness could help banish one of the most common asthma triggers, say experts.

Dust 'protects against asthma'
Children living in houses with low levels of a substance found in dust are more likely to have wheezing attacks, scientists found.

Dairy diet may prevent asthma
Young children who regularly eat products containing milk fat are less likely to develop asthma, research suggests.

Cinemas may trigger asthma
Cinema seats could trigger wheezing in asthma sufferers because they are packed with allergens spread from cat fur, a study suggests.

Dog warning to asthmatics
People with asthma may be putting their health at risk by keeping a dog, scientists have warned.

'Asthma took away my childhood'
For 42 years Kate Jude was a chronic asthmatic.

Asthma vaccine shows promise
A vaccine that could ease asthmatic reactions has been described as "promising" by scientists.

Asthma myth 'widely held'
A National Asthma Campaign survey found many people wrongly think the condition is only associated with childhood.

Asthma drug raises heart risk
Patients taking anti-inflammatory steroid drugs for conditions such as asthma are at a greater risk of heart disease, research suggests.

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Medical Information


Warning Given on Use of 4 Popular Asthma Drugs, but Debate Remains - Two federal drug officials have concluded that asthma sufferers risk death if they continue to use four hugely popular asthma drugs — Advair, Symbicort, Serevent and Foradil. But the officials’ views are not universally shared within the government.

MI U-M Hospital Improves Care For Asthmatic Kids - A team of physicians from the University of Michigan's C. S. Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, says comparing their treatment of asthma patients with other children's hospitals from around the country has helped them cut costs, hospital stays and repeat hospitalizations.


CA Report: Kids at Steep Risk From Bad Air - Los Angeles children playing outside were at high risk of breathing unhealthy air one out of five days over the last three summers.


Download the CDC's Guide "Strategies for Asthma" (pdf). 


CA Region's Kids Left Gasping for Air - Asthma among children is rising -- affecting an estimated 390,000 youngsters in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange counties -- and exhaust from a growing number of cars and trucks is among the suspected causes. Air pollution is known to hinder lung development, increase asthma among athletes and cause coughs and runny noses, but experts say many other factors could be causing the asthma epidemic.

Update on National Asthma Guidelines Released
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP), has issued an update of selected topics in the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. The guidelines now recommend inhaled corticosteroids as safe, effective and preferred first-line therapy for children as well as adults with persistent asthma. The update continues to recommend a "step-wise" approach to asthma management — in which treatment is adjusted depending on disease severity — but it modifies specific treatment recommendations at each step to reflect research over the last five years.

Asthma Medical Glossary
This is where you'll find information about all the medication, equipment and technical terms commonly associated with asthma.

Human Respiratory System
National Emphysema Foundation

Asthma Management Options

Controlling Your Asthma
If you have asthma, you are not alone. More than 14 million people in the United States have this lung disease.

Drug Treatments
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
A shift in treatment strategy has occurred in the past decade toward prevention and primary treatment of asthma with blocking medications taken orally and inhaled steroids. Previously, drug treatment relied on bronchodilator drugs that dilate the small tubes in the lung which constrict during an asthma attack; these drugs relieve the wheezing and shortness of breath quickly. Many patients are instructed to inhale broncholilators continuously and rely on them completely to control their asthma This is symptomatic therapy which does not address the cause or mechanisms of the asthma.. Newer, better treatment strategies emphasize other drugs which prevent the allergic response or treat the inflammation that keeps asthma going.

Asthma: Taking Medicines Safely
Some medicines might make your asthma worse. Not all people with asthma have a problem with medicines. It's important to know about the following medicines in case you have a problem.

Medicines that can trigger asthma
National Asthma Campaign
This factsheet outlines the medicines that can trigger asthma symptoms in some people. These medicines will not act as triggers for everyone with asthma but in some cases it is wise to avoid these medicines if you have asthma.

Metered-Dose Inhaler: How to Use it Correctly
It's important to keep track of how much medicine you've used so you can plan ahead and replace your inhaler before you run out of medicine.

Asthma Rescue
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Here is a simple problem-solving approach to asthma.

Anaphylaxis & Asthma
Alpha Nutrition Health Education
Anaphylactic shock is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction which occurs when an allergen enters the bloodstream and circulates, causing a general reaction. Symptoms begin with a rapid heart rate, flushing, swelling of the throat, nausea, coughing, and chest tightness. Severe wheezing (asthma), cramping, and a rapid drop in blood pressure follow may lead to cardiac arrest. Hives and vomiting are also common features. The treatment for anaphylaxis is injected epinephrine (adrenalin), followed by antihistamines and steroids.

Clinical Trials
National Institutes of Health


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Books & Videos


American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Asthma and Allergies: Breathing Easy and Bringing up Healthy, Active Children
American Academy Of Pediatrics, Michael J. Welch

Asthma and allergies are different conditions that often go together. In many cases they are year-round problems requiring continual management, involving the child and his or her parents, caregivers and pediatrician in a team approach. Guide to Your Child's Allergies and Asthma is a well organized, easy-to-follow key to this process.

A Parent's Guide to Asthma: How You Can Help Your Child Control Asthma at Home, School, and Play
Nancy Sander, Foreword by Allan M. Weinstein

Covers finding a doctor/allergy tests & immunotherapy/ participation in sports/food allergies/prevention of attacks.

Lion Who Had Asthma
Jonathan London, Nadine Bernard Westcott (Illustrator)

Sean's nebulizer mask and his imagination aid in his recovery following an asthma attack. Includes information on childhood asthma and how to control its symptoms.

Natural Relief for Your Child's Asthma: A Guide to Controlling Asthma and Reducing Your Child's
Steven J. Bock, Kenneth Bock, Nancy Pauline Bruning

"...addresses the emotions as well as the physical problems children with asthma face...proposes a plan that uses natural methods for alleviating & preventing attacks that should in time lower a child's dependence on medications."

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