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Back-to-School Prep for Child Asthma

Parents Should Help Kids, Schools Prepare for Asthma Care, Says American Lung Association
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WebMD Health News

Aug. 22, 2006 -- Parents of children with asthma have some homework to do to prepare for their child's at-school asthma care.

That's the key finding of an online survey, done by Harris Interactive in late June for the American Lung Association.

The survey included 2,010 parents aged 18 and older, 73 of whom have children with asthma.

Nearly three-quarters of parents of children with asthma reported worrying, at least somewhat, that their child's health condition will interfere with his or her ability to fully participate in school and school activities.

But some parents of asthmatic children could be doing more to prevent problems and help school officials prepare for those that come, the survey shows.

Be Prepared

"Being prepared should be on parents' back-to-school list," says Norman Edelman, MD, in an American Lung Association news release. Edelman is the association's chief medical officer.

"Not taking basic steps like having a fast-acting medication available at school in case of an asthma attack or communicating with the school about your child's asthma could be setting the stage for an unmanageable medical crisis at school," Edelman says.

"Parents need to make sure their child's asthma is under control so that it doesn't worsen once they get back to school," he continues.

"Look for signs like coughing at night or not being able to keep up with other kids' physical activity, which may mean their asthma is not under control," Edelman says.

Parents Weigh In

Among parents of children with asthma who took the survey:

  • Fewer than 6 in 10 say they talk to teachers about their child's health condition.
  • Nearly 3 out of 10 don't make sure their child's medicine is available at school.
  • Fewer than half say they make sure their child is under medical supervision at school.
  • Under a third say they talk to a principal or school administrator about their kid's asthma.

It's not clear if those who completed the survey are typical of parents of kids with asthma.

The American Lung Association offers these back-to-school tips to help parents prepare their child:

  • Get a checkup for your child before school, if the child is due for one.
  • Know your child's asthma triggers.
  • Get your child's asthma under control before school starts.
  • Make an asthma action plan with your doctor to specify the child's asthma care.
  • Share the asthma action plan with school staff, including teachers, nurses, and coaches.
  • Schedule flu shots for your child. Preventing flu may help curb asthma episodes.

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