Having asthma is no fun, but that doesn't mean there's not fun asthma-related stuff out there to help kids stay healthy. Add some of these cool tools to your child's gift list.
An air purifier with a HEPA Filter is an important tool for removing dust mites, pollen, and other asthma-aggravating breathables from your child's air supply. But planting some institutional-looking piece of plastic in a bedroom to do the job may make a kid feel like a patient. A cuter model that also works as room decor can improve the atmosphere in more ways than one. In addition to the penguin model, manufacturer Crane makes a cool blue shark (compare prices).
Having a friend whose gone through the same experience helps kids be less frightened by asthma and illness. Whether or not your child has such a chum in real life, there's one on the PBS series Arthur, in which the title aardvark's best bunny buddy, Buster, was diagnosed with asthma and suffered the fear and misunderstanding of his classmates as they all adjusted to his health needs. That episode is the second one on the "Arthur Goes to the Doctor" DVD set, and might be a good one to show to your child's friends to increase understanding, too.
Children with chronic health issues like asthma may feel weak when they have to take medications or sit out activities due to their condition. But taking responsibility for health and battling back against a frightening disease can be points of confidence, too. T-shirts with encouraging messages like "I Am Stronger Than Asthma," from the Cafepress store Speak Up, Be Heard, provide an empowering attitude adjustment. Visit the About.com Asthma site for more on "Asthma and Children's Self-Esteem."
Explaining asthma to a young child -- or to an older relative who's not up to big detailed tomes -- can be a challenge, especially when you're shaky on some of the details yourself. A book that spells things out in simple terms, like this "Asthma Alphabet Book for All Ages," provides parents with the perfect "in" for conveying accurate information in a non-frightening way, and also provides some nice parent-child reading time.
For an older child, a novel that makes asthma part of the action may be a better choice. [i]Facing West,[/i] an entry in the Once Upon America series for readers ages 9-12, follows a boy whose challenges in the Wild West include danger of an asthma attack on the dusty trail. If nothing else, it should put your child's asthma challenges in perspective.
Stuffed animals certified as asthma-friendly avoid materials that are known to aggravate asthma, and can safely be washed and dried. Other safe friends from Pretend Play Toys include a yellow Labrador, black panther cub, and white tiger. For more on the certification process and what makes a toy safe, visit the Asthma and Allergy Friendly site.