Asthma doesn’t stop when school starts. Children with asthma may in fact experience a worsening in symptoms when the school bell rings. Several factors make back to school time a peak for asthma attacks. According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, there are 7 million kids in the US who have been diagnosed with this lung condition, and those kids miss nearly 13 million days of school each year.
But a child doesn’t have to miss school because of this issue. Understanding what is facing your child at school and making an action plan can help them to thrive despite their condition. These back to school tips can help parents of asthmatic children.
Common Asthma Triggers
In order to come up with a good solution, you have to understand the problem. Ragweed pollen and mold abound during the back to school months. September can be the peak of allergy season, which can also mean a peak in asthma attacks. Temperature changes, especially the cooler air, can irritate asthmatics. Indoor allergens and germs in schools can affect children with lung problems.
Besides the natural irritants, children with asthma are prone to flare ups due to exercise and potential emotional stress at school. These are all factors to keep in mind when your child is at school, so planning for possible asthma attacks is crucial.
Planning for Attacks
Taking the time to make an asthma action plan is the key to a good school year for your child. Work with your child’s doctor to gather the required information. Make sure that you and your child are comfortable with the treatment plan, and update the plan as needed.
Here is a list of what you can include in your plan:
Medicines, including the name, how much to give, and when to take it
A list of asthma triggers to avoid, such as allergens or types of exercise
A plan for monitoring asthma and peak flow readings
How to handle an asthma flare-up, including the signs of an asthma attack and emergency numbers to call
Once you have a strong plan of action, be sure to meet with your child’s teachers and brief them on what they should know about your child’s condition. Let teachers know what your child’s triggers are so that they can help prevent flare-ups and attacks. Also, be sure to give the teachers a copy of the action plan. It may be a good idea to communicate these things to the school nurse as well.
Communicate is Key
An often overlooked step in treating asthma at school is communicating with your child. Include them in the creation of the asthma action plan. Make sure to discuss their triggers with them and some possible ways they could avoid these triggers. Also, ensure that your child has a plan for where to keep a fast-acting inhaler.
Once you, your child, and everyone else involved are comfortable with your plan, your child can have an enjoyable school year, and the two of you will be prepared for potential asthma issues.
For more information on how to treat asthma and its related symptoms, contact us. Our pulmonologist, Dr. Mayan K. Shukla, is a leading expert in childhood asthma, allergies and sleep disorders.