Asthma causes more missed school days than any other chronic illness, leading to an estimated 13.8 million days missed per year. For children with asthma, heading back to school can be safer and more fun if their parents do a little homework of their own.
It’s important to take the following steps before the school year begins to keep kids healthy in the classroom:
• If your child experiences frequent asthma symptoms, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
• Make sure your child has a written Asthma Action Plan, and share a copy with the school nurse.
• Help your child practice taking his or her asthma medication, and make sure your child understands how important it is to keep the medicine close by at all times.
• Give consent for your student to carry their inhaler. Call the school or visit the school/district website to find the necessary consent form. Save the prescription label for your child’s asthma medication to provide with the form.
• If possible, keep an extra quick-relief inhaler where needed, whether in the home or at school.
• Talk your child’s teachers to make sure they understand your child’s asthma ‘triggers.’ Make sure teachers can recognize asthma symptoms and know what to do if they happen.
• Remind your children of the importance of general hygiene (hand washing, covering mouth while coughing, etc.) to prevent common cold and flu viruses that can make asthma symptoms worse.
• Make sure your child stays in the routine of taking long-term control medications, if prescribed. Skipping doses can lead to increased symptoms and missed school time.
• Remember to get your child an annual flu shot. Kids with asthma are at increased risk for upper respiratory viral infections, including the flu.
• Ask your school administrators to bring the Respiratory Health Association’s Fight Asthma Now© program to their students with asthma and Asthma Management to school personnel, parents and other caregivers of children with asthma.
Asthma is manageable. With proper planning, medication and awareness, both parents and children can breathe easy this school year.