When a child is first diagnosed with asthma, their family gets a crash course in the daily management of this chronic, potentially life-threatening condition. Proper care is key to keeping kids with asthma healthy and out of the hospital, but for parents who are processing the news of a diagnosis, all the information about treatments and when to seek medical attention can be overwhelming.
To make it easier for families of children diagnosed with asthma to learn how to care for this condition, Dr. Claire Seaton, an investigator and general pediatrician at BC Children’s Hospital, worked with colleagues at BC Children’s and ChildHealth BC to create an educational video that is now available for free online:
Approximately one in twenty children in British Columbia currently have asthma, a chronic inflammation of the airways that can cause shortness of breath, chest pain and tightness, and coughing and wheezing attacks. Asthma is a leading cause of missed school and hospital visits for children in BC and severe asthma can be life-threatening. Children with asthma need to take medication regularly and receive emergency medical care in certain circumstances when their symptoms aren’t well controlled.
“Having asthma should not mean that your child is missing out on sports or school activities, which can happen if their condition is not managed with appropriate medications,” says Dr. Seaton.
“Good asthma control relies on families knowing what asthma is, what asthma medications do, and how to recognize and treat asthma symptoms. This video is an easy and accessible way for families to learn about asthma. They can view it anytime, anywhere and show it to their child’s other caregivers.”
The video is intended to be shared with families as a complement to the BC Provincial Child Asthma Action Plan, a written tool that families receive from health care workers outlining their child’s treatment and when to seek help.
The video will soon be available on TVs in the BC Children’s Hospital Emergency Department and plans are underway to translate it to Punjabi and simplified Chinese. Since the video is online, it can be easily accessed by families and care providers anywhere in the province.
“We know that when families receive education about asthma, children are more likely to adhere to their medication plans,” says Dr. Seaton. “We hope this video will make it easier for families across BC to learn about asthma so children with this condition can enjoy healthy and active lives.”
The production of the video was funded through a grant from the Medical Allied Staff Engagement Society at BC Children’s Hospital.