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Bridging Medical Information Gap on Environmental Health

By Colleen Chandler
November 2005

asthma educational tools
(Photo Courtesy of the University of Chicago)

New guidelines issued by the National Environmental Education & Training Foundation will provide pediatric healthcare providers with new educational tools for recognizing and reducing environmental triggers for asthma.

NIEHS funded the development of the guidelines, Environmental Management of Pediatric Asthma: Guidelines for Health Care Providers. The guidelines are based on the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, and include practical strategies for managing asthma that can be included in educational curricula and clinical practices.

"As a physician who treats patients with asthma and as a parent of an asthmatic child, I understand the importance of tools such as these to ensure environmental factors are considered as an aid in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of asthma," said NIEHS Director David A. Schwartz. "There are simple steps parents can take to reduce allergens that trigger asthma in their children. By teaching parents how to reduce allergens, healthcare providers can create a partnership that involves the parents in the process of improving their child's health."

The guidelines are built on current 'best practices,' including competencies for managing environmental asthma triggers in pediatric care, a user-friendly environmental history form, intervention guidelines, patient flyers that can be reproduced and distributed, and a list of references.

The NIEHS journal, Environmental Health Perspectives, recently published a study on the need from more training for doctors and nurses on environmental health to prepare them to prevent, recognize and manage diseases with environmental exposure components.

The complete guidelines are available at http://www.neefusa.org/health/asthma/asthmaguidelines.htm.



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