By Heather Legg
As May is peak season for allergies and asthma, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America deems this month National Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month. It makes it a great time to spread awareness and education about these two conditions.
So what can you do this month to help spread the word and awareness? As with any awareness, you can do big or do small, but the thing to remember is the small is just as important and effective. Some people may be comfortable planning a community event, like a walk or an educational forum. Others may rather be a walker, collecting donations or helping out in the planning in the forum, maybe handing out information.
Schools are a good place to start or maintain programs, especially if you have children there. You may already be familiar with the administration and nurse, so they may be able to help, or at least support you in the event. Some things to do are hand out information about asthma and allergies and/or offer an inservice to teachers and staff (be sure to invite anyone who works at the school) where you go over medication, triggers, symptoms and management. You could organize an assembly with guest speakers, including kids, doctors and even community figures who may have allergies or asthma. A poster contest is always a great idea, and you can exhibit the entries of allergies and asthma and feature the winners in a special spot in the school. Our school has connections with a local company where winning posters are turned into a billboard.
Your participation does not even have to be that grand. You could read a relevant book to your child’s class and maybe go over the condition a bit with his classmates. Speak with PTA boards about implementing clean air and no idling programs at your school to help with asthma triggers.
Perhaps your PTA already has a health and wellness committee with which you could get involved in. This is a great venue to get information and provide support within the schools. If that don’t already have this committee, think about starting it. You can find information on national or state level PTA websites, or just speak to your PTA board.
Information is always empowering and the more people know of asthma and allergies, the safer your children will be. Whether it is a community wide event or a story in a classroom, what you do will definitely make an impact.