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In the Community

Children’s National Health System is raising awareness of asthma and providing education and prevention resources to families throughout the Washington metropolitan area. Our community outreach is dedicated to improving asthma care and outcomes for children through individualized and group education on the nature of asthma, proper medication and device use, and identification and reduction of children’s exposure to asthma triggers.

Did you know?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asthma is one of the most common serious childhood chronic diseases. Children in Washington, DC, particularly those in low-income communities, are at high risk for poorly controlled asthma. According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 15 percent of children in the District currently have asthma, while some areas of the city have prevalence upwards of 30 percent, nearly 40 percent greater than the national average. For many children, poorly controlled asthma leads to missed school days, the inability to participate in sports and other physical activity, poor sleeping patterns, and dependency on the emergency room as a result of asthma-related wheezing and severe shortness of breath. The emergency room visit rate for children in the District with asthma is 4.3 times the national average.

Furthermore, many children and parents are not aware of the relationship between asthma and oral health. Medications used to treat asthma can reduce the flow of saliva, which plays a key role in reducing the risk of dental erosion, and can cause a condition known as “dry mouth”. Dry mouth puts people with asthma at risk for bad breath, cavities, and gum disease.

What you can do

The following links provide more information about asthma and what you can do to take control: An asthma educator can help you identify asthma triggers in your home and ways that these triggers can be reduced.

  • Asthma triggers at school
  • Allergies and asthma
  • Pests and asthma
  • Pets and asthma
  • Safe sleeping zone
  • Smoking and asthma

Medication and Device Instructions

  • How to use an inhaler and spacer
  • How use an inhaler and spacer with mask
  • How to use a diskus
  • How to use a twisthaler
  • Priming and care of devices

Tips to good oral health and asthma control

Children’s National staff participates throughout the year in community outreach, providing information through health fairs, school-based programs, and other educational and advocacy events. These include parent education sessions, the NBC4 Health & Expo, World Asthma Day, and other health fairs and community events.

School nurses are also an incredible resource for families with school-aged children. We work with school nurses to provide training, share educational materials, and discuss the process for referring families to our Severe Asthma Clinic.