Asthma in children can be difficult to diagnose. In South Africa, asthma is the third most common cause of hospitalisation in children. This is due to a lack of diagnosis and a lack of understanding of the condition.
But if symptoms are properly understood and managed, asthma doesn’t have to dominate a child’s life.
There are ways to educate a child about asthma in a fun way. We found some apps, toys and books that can help make the job easier.
WizdyPets is a revolutionary game to make asthma management fun for children. It’s an engaging way for them to learn about asthma prevention. Children learn to control their asthma by caring for a virtual pet (a fire-breathing dragon) that also suffers from asthma.
Children take care of this asthmatic pet by administering the inhaler and looking out for and cleaning up potential asthma triggers such as dust. They can also unlock and play games where the dragon can breathe fire and destroy a smog monster. Children can keep the dragon going during the game by administering the inhaler.
The app is available for all Android and iOS devices.
2. Iggy and the Inhalers
Iggy and the Inhalers is a collection of educational resources, merchandise and toys based on the cartoon character Iggy. This project was created by paediatric allergist Alex Thomas. He drew the Iggy-character when he was 12 years old and suffered from asthma. This collection consists of a website packed with downloadable PDFs and educational videos.
While the website sells merchandise in the USA as well, the free PDFs, activity sheets and videos are available for children in South Africa to learn more about asthma.
3. Kangaroo Kate Has Asthma by Mary B. Hammock
This is a story about Kangaroo Kate's premature birth and subsequent development of asthma. It describes her difficulties with maintaining healthy lungs and the medicines she takes to get well and stay well.
This children’s book has lovely illustrations and is a good way to teach your asthmatic child that asthma can be managed through a healthy lifestyle and by taking medication regularly.
Buy it here on Takealot.com.
4. My Asthma Book by Maria Muirhead
This upbeat, beautifully illustrated story is about Katie, a girl who recently found out she has asthma. She is nervous because she isn’t sure if she will be able to use her inhaler. She has been feeling a bit tired lately and is upset because she feels she can’t do all the things she loves and enjoys. She then talks to her older brother, Rian, who also has asthma. In this dialogue between the two siblings, children learn about asthma management, how to cope and how there’s nothing to be scared or worried about.
This book is not just a story book, but includes activities on asthma management, such as connect-the-dots, puzzles, word searches, and colouring activities with the intention to educate children on the basic concepts of asthma.
Buy it here on takealot.com.
5. 4M Kidz Lab Human Organz
While this anatomy set for kids eight years and older is marketed towards the budding young doctor or scientist, this can help educate any child about what the lungs do and how asthma affects the lungs. And who knows, maybe your child is a young biologist in the making.
Buy it here on takelot.com.
Image credits: iStock