Back to school asthma checklist

Guest post from the staff at the American Lung Association, a proud StayWell partner

For the more than 6 million children living with asthma, gearing up for another school year involves much more than picking out new supplies and a backpack. Asthma is the leading cause of hospitalization among children under the age of 15 and a main reason why students miss school due to illness (10+ million school days lost every year).

Parents and health care providers should work with children on asthma management so they feel healthy and safe during the school year. Here are a few recommendations to follow for a successful school year.

[Health care providers: Educate and help patients manage asthma with content from Krames Patient Education.]

Schedule a check-up with a physician

Use a yearly check-up to create or revise an asthma action plan. Check the effectiveness of medication and dosage, and get prescriptions for back-up medications for school nurses, coaches, and others helping with child care.

Assess the child’s readiness to self-carry medication

All states have laws that allow children to carry and use their asthma inhalers at school. Use the American Lung Association’s Self-carry Assessment Tool to see if a child is ready to self-administer asthma medication, which can save precious time if an episode occurs.

Set up an appointment with a school nurse

Bring an updated asthma action plan and back-up medications when meeting with school nurses. Take the time to sign all required medical forms and discuss whether the child can self-carry their own inhaler, in addition to how to handle emergencies that could happen at school.

Talk to the school teacher(s)

Find a moment to talk to the child’s teacher about their asthma, what triggers might bring on an attack, and what to do in an emergency—whether that is to head directly to the nurse or allow them to use their inhaler.

Meet physical education teachers and coaches

Kids with asthma shouldn’t have to miss out on playing outside or participating in gym class. Put their minds at ease by talking about exercise-induced asthma, ways to manage symptoms, and what to do in the case of emergencies.

Encourage fun!

While there is a lot to do at the start of the year, it’s also exciting to see old friends and dive back into favorite school subjects. Make sure to take a deep breath and enjoy.

This content was originally published on the ALA website.

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