Back to School with Asthma Toolkit | American Lung Association

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Back to School with Asthma Toolkit

Asthma is a leading chronic condition that causes students to miss school, which can directly affect their academic success. Addressing asthma management in school can help establish an environment that supports both learning and safety.

Top 4 Ways School Staff Can Support an Asthma-friendly School

  • Know which students are at risk for an asthma emergency.
    At the beginning of the school year, make sure your school's Health Inquiry Form includes asthma-related questions. Tracking students with asthma can ensure that students with the greatest need receive proper health services. Here are some tips to get you off to a good start:
    • Send a welcome letter to all parents at the beginning of the school year that communicates the school’s medication policies and procedures and includes any required forms.
    • Set up an information table at Back to School Night and have a staff person available to answer questions. 
    • Have an Asthma Action Plan on file for each student with asthma.
    • Ensure immediate access to asthma medication by:

Find more resources for tracking students with asthma in the Maximizing School Health Services section of the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) Toolkit.

  • Ensure good indoor air quality (IAQ).
    Poor indoor air can affect the health of students and staff. Many indoor air pollutants can cause asthma symptoms. Help keep your students safe by reducing or eliminating IAQ problems in the classroom by watching out for asthma triggers such as mold, pet dander, air fresheners and cleaning chemicals.

How asthma-friendly are your classrooms? Use the Healthy Air Walkthrough Classroom Checklist to find out.

Find more resources on providing a Healthy School Environment in the AFSI Toolkit.

  • Educate, educate, educate.
    Offering asthma education to teachers, school staff, parents and children will make the classroom that much safer. Programs like Asthma Basics, an online course to help make sure the adults in your school understand asthma, also helps prevent asthma emergencies. Students with asthma can benefit from the Open Airways For Schools® program, where children ages 8 to 11 can learn about their condition in an interactive and supportive group environment. Find more information on providing asthma education to school personnel, parents and students in the AFSI Toolkit. 
  • Encourage physical activity when a child with asthma is able.
    Staying active benefits all students but may be daunting for students with asthma or their caregivers. Providing asthma education to PE instructors or coaches, managing physical activity and offering modifications to activity when needed can keep students with asthma in the game. Find more resources on Managing Physical Education & Activity for students with asthma in the AFSI Toolkit.

    Page Last Updated: August 2, 2018

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