Managing Your Child's Asthma at School
If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you know the difficulty of managing your child’s asthma symptoms at school. Many children with asthma have symptoms at school. That’s why it's important to get the school involved in managing your child’s asthma, so a responsible adult at the school knows when and how to administer asthma inhalers or other asthma treatment. Even if your child has mild asthma, working with the classroom teacher and other school officials is vital for managing your child’s condition and treating mild symptoms early on before they worsen.
With the prevalence of asthma increasing rapidly among children in the U.S., most schools have many students with asthma. Many classroom teachers -- and certainly the school nurses -- are very familiar with helping children with asthma. Still, it is important to take steps to ensure that your child gets adequate attention at school and that all the key people are familiar with what is needed in managing your child’s asthma and preventing asthma symptoms at school.
How Can I Prevent Asthma Problems for My Child at School?
The most important thing you can do to prevent asthma problems for your child at school is to talk to your child and, depending on how old he is, explain to him as much about asthma as he can understand. Ideally, your child should be able to keep track of when it's time to take his medicine, how to use the asthma inhaler properly, how to use a peak flow meter, what the number on the peak flow meter means, and what to do if that number is too low.
You should also make sure that the school officials know all about managing your child’s asthma. They must know how severe the asthma is, what the what the triggers are, what asthma medications to use and how to properly give them, how to use the peak flow meter, and what to do in case of an asthma attack.
The specific steps for managing your child’s asthma at school should be written up in your child’s asthma action plan. The asthma action plan should be distributed to every school official who may care for your child. It’s important to have a conference with the child’s teachers and other school officials and explain the asthma action plan, including your child’s triggers, the severity of the asthma, and common symptoms and effective treatment of your child's asthma.
For in depth information, see WebMD’s article on Developing an Asthma Action Plan.
In addition, you should look around your child's classroom and other areas where he or she goes at the school to see if there are any known allergy or asthma triggers. If you identify possible asthma triggers (dust mites and dust are common triggers in a classroom), you should work with the teacher to reduce your child's exposure to these triggers.