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Asthma Health Center

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Managing Your Child's Asthma at School

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What Emergency Instructions Are Important When Managing My Child's Asthma at School?

You should give the school officials your child’s updated asthma action plan. You may also give the teacher a peak flow meter, if possible. The asthma action plan should have a clear set of instructions of what to do if there’s a low peak flow reading or the child is having asthma symptoms that cannot be stopped with an asthma inhaler. The school should have a clear idea of when to call your doctor and when to call 911. You should make sure that your child’s asthma action plan that you hand out to all school officials has your doctor's phone number, your preferred hospital (emergency room), as well as contact numbers for you, other guardians for the child, and a trusted friend.

When Should I Send Medications for My Child's Asthma at School?

Physicians and others authorized to prescribe medications, working together with parents and school nurses, should consider the list of factors below in determining when to entrust and encourage a student with diagnosed asthma and/or anaphylaxis to carry and self-administer prescribed emergency medications at school.

Most students can better manage their asthma symptoms if they carry and self-administer their asthma inhalers and other lifesaving medications at school. Each student should have a personal asthma action plan on file at school that addresses relevant issues such as carrying and self-administering emergency medications. If carrying medications is not usually done at your child’s school, then your child’s asthma action plan should include action steps for developing the necessary skills or behaviors that would lead to this goal. All schools need to abide by state laws and policies related to permitting students to carry and self-administer asthma inhalers and epinephrine auto-injectors. Epinephrine auto-injectors should be used without hesitation, even if the symptoms do not appear to be allergy related. The injection won't harm your child, but hesitating could lead to anaphylaxis and be fatal.

You and the physician who prescribes your child’s medications should assess and discuss if your child should possibly carry and self-administer lifesaving medications. Health care providers should communicate their recommendation to the parent or guardian and the school and maintain communication with the school -- especially the school nurse -- through notes, letters, forms or verbal communication.

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