Today's Snack: Cherries make a tremendously healthy snack. Learn how
to take the "pit," or seed, out of each cherry, and discard the long stems as
well. A handful of cherries is delicious on top of a piece of angel food cake
with a blob of low-fat whipped topping, and a tall glass of milk.
Rhyming dictionaries |
Paper and pencils
Drum machine if
Asthma is a serious and fairly common breathing problem.
Every once in a while, a person with asthma can't get enough oxygen with every
breath. It can lead to a panicky feeling that you are going to suffocate - which
can be very scary.
who have asthma know that they shouldn't panic, and should just continue to breathe
slowly, in a shallow manner, until their treatment help, such as an inhaler or
nebulizer, can put their lungs back into balance.
A student with asthma hasn't done anything wrong. Asthma is just
one of those conditions that some people get for no reason, and often because
it runs in the family. A person with asthma may feel short of breath, or cough,
or sometimes wheeze, which means they breathe with a sort of whistling sound.
Basically, the problem is that the airways of a person with asthma
have more mucus than usual. Yes, mucus is the same stuff that makes boogers.
Mucus is one of the funniest words in the English language, so you can laugh
Actually, mucus is really important for our bodies. It lines the
pathways from our nose and mouth down into our lungs and into our digestive
tract. The purpose of mucus is to protect those areas from infection and keep
them lubricated, or slippery. Thanks to mucus, the air that comes into our
lungs is as clean as possible.
But, because their airways have extra mucus, an asthmatic person's
airways become easily irritated by all the tiny and invisible particles in the
air we breathe. For example, you can barely see dust or smoke in the air. But
when an asthmatic person breathes it in, dust or smoke can really irritate the
Then those airways tend to tighten up and close in. That makes it
harder and harder to get enough oxygen down into the lungs. Pretty soon, the
asthmatic person feels short of breath, and it can be a really scary feeling.
Asthma attacks are the No. 1 reason kids miss a lot of school,
which is not good. Asthma is also the most common reason kids have to be rushed
to the emergency room for medical help.
But fortunately, advances in medications and treatments are making
it easier and easier for kids with asthma to do everything they want to do,
just like other kids. Medications, inhalers and nebulizers can put things right
in the respiratory (RESS peer a tor ee) system so that the person can once
again breathe easy.
The problem is, a lot of kids have a slight case of asthma and
don't even know it. Do you? That's why it's so important to go to your doctor
regularly, and tell him or her about times when you felt "short of breath" if
you have felt that way. It's probably not asthma, but it's a great idea to talk
it over with your medical professional and be sure.
So what can you do to help a family member, friend or perhaps
yourself cope better with asthma?
The very best thing that an asthma sufferer's family and friends
can do is to make their environment just as favorable as possible to quality
breathing. The indoor air quality in your school, home and business can have a
huge effect on how a child with asthma gets along.
- Keep dust mites to a minimum in
your house by using special mattress pads, box springs covers and pillow
covers, washing linens often, keeping blankets in plastic bags when not in
use, minimizing stuffed animals, and of course dusting and vacuuming your
house often - at least once a week.
- Don't have things in your house
that collect dust. Avoid window blinds, knick-knacks, plants, curtains,
upholstery, decorative pillows or picture frames.
- When you dust, use a damp cloth
rather than a dry cloth or feather duster; you want to remove as much dust
as you can instead of just moving it around.
- Don't use feather pillows or
down products in your bedding; get synthetics, instead.
- Reduce the impact of plant
pollen, which can aggravate asthma as well as allergies, by choosing to
plant plants that put out little or no pollen. Don't leave your windows
open when the pollen is blowing around. Pollen counts are highest between
5 a.m. and 10 a.m.
- Don't run a humidifier in your
home. Dust mites and mold grow better in a humid environment, so keep
yours less humid.
- Store your child's books and
toys away from where he or she sleeps because they are dust magnets.
- Don't let anybody smoke inside
- Don't have fires in your
fireplace. The smoke in the air is hard to breathe.
- Don't use perfumes or scented
soaps or cosmetics.
- Don't use aerosol sprays.
- Use "green," organic, natural
and often homemade cleaning products rather than harsh commercial
- Fumes from fresh paint or
cooking with gas can be hard on an asthmatic; can you paint the house when
your asthma sufferer is away for several days, and do a lot of microwaving
and cooking on the grill?
- Don't use scented candles or
- If fresh newsprint irritates
your asthmatic, can you read it outside or away from home?
- Run your air conditioner
regularly. Change your air conditioning filter monthly.
- In a home with forced-air heat,
you could seal off the vents in an asthmatic child's bedroom with aluminum
covers and tape.
- Clean household air ducts and
vents regularly, and change the air filter in your furnace regularly.
- Don't have carpeting,
especially where the asthmatic person spends a lot of time, and especially
don't have wall-to-wall carpet in your basement, which often harbors mold.
Also, wash area rugs weekly in hot water.
- If the child has a favorite toy
or stuffed animal that can't be washed in hot water and dried on "high"
temperature, you can seal it in a plastic bag in the freezer for five
hours or overnight; that should kill the dust mites.
- Mold is an enemy to asthmatics.
Mold sends spores into the air which, when inhaled, can trigger asthma. So
keep your house mold-free by always fixing leaky pipes, faucets and roofs;
use exhaust fans in bathrooms and the basement; keep closets clean and
dry; run a dehumidifier in the basement and empty and clean out the water
pan often. Make a "green" mold cleaner by mixing one part chlorine bleach
to 10 parts water
- Animals are frequently asthma
triggers, because animal hair can collect mites, pollen and mold. It's
best to not have a pet, or if you must, keep the pet outside as much as
you can and out of your child's bedroom and playroom.
- Cockroaches are really bad on
asthma. So have your home professionally exterminated every few months,
use bait traps, and don't save paper boxes, bags and newspapers for long.
Don't leave open food containers or dirty dishes lying around, keep your
counters clean, and wash recyclables before putting them in the recycling
Now that you know so much more about asthma, let's write and
perform an Asthma Rap!
Divide up into small groups. On your paper, write down words that
have something to do with asthma:
Now use a rhyming dictionary, or your own brain, to list words
that rhyme with those words. If you don't know a word's meaning, look it up in
the regular dictionary so that you can use it in your rap if you want to:
Asthma - plasma, plaza
Lung - clung, dung, flung, hung, rung, sprung, strung, stung,
sung, tongue, young, among, high-strung
Breathe - seethe, sheath, teeth, wreath, bequeath
. . . and so on.
Now write a rap of at least four lines about asthma, and present
it to an audience - your family, other students, or whoever. If you have a drum
machine with adjustable beats, that's a fun addition to the performance.