Converting string to ASCII or similar

I have a small problem. In Sweden we have these characters å, ä and ö (and of course also in caps). But my MySQL db can’t store åäö characters, so if I look in the db and search for my name, Boström, i can’t find it…
(this forum must encode them in some way, right?)

The search is ran from within flash (mx2004, and from there to a php-script, wich then sends the matching row back to flash.

I want to convert all the åäö’s in a string, and to be able to reconvert them when flash gets the string back… So the string should be stored in the db with the åäö encoded…
(am I confusing you now?)

And I can’t use the html-code for å (å) 'cause if the php-script prints this:
the AS will think that str=Bostr (it stops at the other &-sign…)

(and what if there are multiple instances of the characters åäö in a string?)

Wow… quite an explanation…
Ok, short summary:

AS-sting: Boström
>encode (so that ö=ASCII or so)
>send to PHP-script
>store in MySQL-db
>SELECT from db in PHP
>print string
>get into AS
>display string: Boström

thank tou very much in advance!