Asthma in Schools: The Basics for Parents | American Lung Association

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Asthma in Schools: The Basics for Parents

Kids in a classroom

When it's time for a student with asthma to head back to school there is more to prepare for than just making sure their school supplies are fully stocked. Nearly 6 million children are living with asthma which means parents and caregivers, teachers and coaches, and school nurses and administrators must take special care to make sure their students, classrooms and schools are ready.

Download our premium content that includes a Pathways to Managing Asthma infographic and Back to School with Asthma Checklist below.

Getting Back into the School Schedule

Summer breaks can disrupt schedules, help your child get into the school routine by:

  • Making sure your child is using their long-term control medication daily.
  • Asking your doctor if your child with fall allergies should start allergy medication early, which could act as a preventative measure to make asthma symptoms less likely to occur.

Preparing Your Child's Care Team

It's important to ensure your child, teachers, school counselors and coaches are prepared for the school year. When attending to school physicals and check-ups, make sure to:

  • Share your child's updated Asthma Action Plan, and back-up medications with your child's full care team.
  • Go through your child's asthma triggers and symptoms with your doctor and see if anything has changed over the year. Children are often diagnosed with asthma around age five and as they grow up, their care needs may change.
  • Consider asking your child's doctor to update your child’s baseline peak flow meter reading. Checking peak flow periodically can help you and school personnel better understand if your child is struggling for air.

Teaching Your Child How to Self-Administer their Quick-Relief Inhaler

For a child who is struggling to breathe, the trip from the classroom or playground to the school health room can be dangerously far. Take these precautions to make sure your child has access to their quick-relief medication.

  • Have your child take the Student Readiness Assessment Tool with their school nurse to determine if your child is ready to carry and administer a quick-relief inhaler on their own during the school day.
  • Have your child demonstrate using their inhalers (with and without a valved-holding chamber and spacer) or nebulizer with their asthma care provider at each visit to ensure they are taking their medication correctly.
  • For a refresher, watch our video tutorials demonstrating proper use of asthma medicines, peak flow meters, as well as resources for breathing and managing symptoms. 

Is Your Child's School Asthma-Friendly?

Accounting for nearly 14 million lost school days each year, asthma is one of the main illness-related reasons that students miss school. From the classroom to your home, indoor air pollution from dust, fragrances, mold or even the classroom hamster can affect how children learn and harm their growing lungs.

  • Encourage your school to adopt programs designed to maintain good indoor air quality and healthy environments in classrooms by learning the signs of unhealthy air, creating a tobacco-free campus, considering the use of air purifiers and adopting a school bus anti-idling program.

How's the air at home?

In addition to your school, your home environment is equally important to keep asthma triggers and symptoms at bay.

  • Keep allergens – including secondhand smoke – and sources of pollution out of your home and ensure your home has proper ventilation.
  • Consider using a home air purifier to capture potential triggers, like airborne allergens and gases.
  • Learn more about healthy air at home and how pollution can hurt your child's lungs.

This content was developed in partnership with Philips.

Resources
Webpage Resource

The Pathway to Managing your Asthma Infographic

Download
Webpage Resource

Back-to-School with Asthma Preparation Checklist

Download

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