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Managing Your Child's Asthma at School

(continued)

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.

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.

Can My Child Self-Administer Asthma Inhalers at School?

You might wonder if your child is mature enough to carry and self-administer asthma inhalers and other lifesaving medication at school. Consider the following questions:

  • Does your child wish to carry and self-administer asthma medications?
  • Does your doctor believe the child to be an appropriate age, maturity, or developmental level?
  • Does your child have the ability to identify signs and symptoms of asthma and/or anaphylaxis?
  • Does he or she have knowledge of proper medication use in response to signs/symptoms?
  • Does the child have the ability to use correct technique in administering medication?
  • Does the child have knowledge about medication side effects and what to report?
  • Is the child willing to comply with school's rules about use of medicine at school?
  • Can the child be trusted to keep the asthma inhaler and/or auto-injectable epinephrine with him/her at all times?
  • Will the child notify a responsible adult (e.g., teacher, nurse, coach, playground assistant) during the day when a bronchodilator inhaler is used and immediately when auto-injectable epinephrine is used?
  • Will the child promise not to share medication with other students or leave the medicine unattended?
  • Will the child not use bronchodilator asthma inhalers or auto-injectable epinephrine for any other use than what is intended?
  • Has your child shown responsibility in the past by carrying and self-administering medicine while attending a previous school or during an after-school program?
  • Does your child know to notify an adult immediately after administering a medication?

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