As a parent, having a child with asthma can be worrying enough when you are around to help them control it, but what about when they head off to school? It’s important that school officials, from nurses to teachers, are actively involved in helping students with asthma live their best life. Without this involvement, asthma can, and will, continue to be one of the leading causes of missed school days, with over 14 million each year.
Here’s a few things you can do to keep your child safe and healthy at school:
- Provide your child’s school with an asthma action plan developed by their physician. This plan will include:
- A list of medications the child takes, noting times and doses
- A list of asthma triggers
- A plan of action for an asthma episode, as well as how to monitor the child’s peak flow
- Emergency procedures and phone numbers
- Depending on school rules and the age of your child, giving your child the responsibility to self-administer their medication may be a good idea if they are educated properly about their asthma.
- Talk with teachers about concerns for triggers in the classroom – chalk dust, dust mites, open windows letting pollen in, etc. Working with your child’s teacher and other appropriate staff members can help alleviate some of these triggers.
- Teachers and other staff should be kept up to date on your child’s condition and they can also help you be on the lookout for changes in your child’s asthma.
- Ensure that Physical Education (PE) teachers/coaches understand the risk of exercise-induced asthma and how to properly manage your child’s asthma. Modifying activities if necessary, keeping an eye out for warning signs, yet still encouraging them to participate as long as their asthma is controlled will be important for PE teachers.
- It may be wise to also work out a procedure with your child’s teachers for dealing with any schoolwork that may be missed as a result of unplanned asthma-related absences.
With assistance from the school, proper care and precautions, your child will be able to fully participate in school, gaining valuable knowledge and life skills.