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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. 


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).

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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.

Do you have information that should be listed here? Let us know!

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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  

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 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

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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.


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.

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 bronchodilators 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.

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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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