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Managing Your Child's Asthma at School

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How Can I Prevent Asthma Problems for My Child at School? continued...

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.

Also, it is very important to give the school nurse all the medicines that your child might need during school hours along with the proper instructions, including your child's asthma action plan. Remember that for some asthma medicines, like asthma inhalers, there is often no way to tell whether the inhaler still has medicine or not. You will need to keep track of the date when you send the asthma inhaler and replace the medicines at school regularly.

Finally, it is important to talk with the teachers and other school staff frequently to make sure they’re properly managing your child’s asthma at school. It’s important to touch base and make sure everyone is informed and in agreement.

Who Should Manage My Child's Asthma at School?

The more teachers and other adults at school who know about your child's asthma, the better. Your child could have an asthma attack while in art or music class or in the hallway -- and the classroom teacher may not be present. That’s why the following people should be involved in managing your child’s asthma at school:

Here is a list of people at school who must be involved:

  • Classroom teacher. This is the person who is most likely to be around if your child has an asthma attack at school. The more the classroom teacher knows and the more vigilant he or she is, the better the chance that your child will receive the care your child needs. Sometimes, kids who have difficulty breathing do not perform as well in school, even though they do not have asthma attacks. The classroom teacher should be aware that school performance might be affected by asthma symptoms.
  • School nurse. You should talk to the school nurse and get an idea of what the school policies are. If your school shares a school nurse with other schools, make an appointment to see the nurse when she is in the school, and find out who will be in charge when the nurse is not around.
  • Other teachers. Talk with the art teacher, music teacher, or any other teacher who regularly spends time with your child.
  • Physical education teacher. The PE teacher has a special responsibility. In addition to spending time with your child like other teachers, the PE teacher should keep an extra eye on your child when he/she is exercising with asthma, since exercise can trigger exercise-induced asthma. Also, you should make sure that your child is not being left out because he or she has asthma. The PE teacher should encourage your child to participate as long as the asthma is under control.
  • Office staff and school principal.
  • Counselor. This is an important person to talk to, especially if your child has other problems, such as learning problems or problems dealing with other kids.
  • Substitute teachers. You should try to talk to substitute teachers yourself and make sure the regular teacher knows to inform the substitute about your child's asthma. This is where your child's asthma action plan -- a written set of instructions -- from you is particularly valuable.
  • Bus driver. Talk to your child's bus driver and let him or her know about your child’s asthma. Be sure the bus driver receives a copy of your child’s asthma action plan.
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