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Asthma and school

Children with asthma need a lot of support at school. They may need help from school staff to keep their asthma under control and to be able to do school activities.

You should give the school staff an asthma action plan that tells staff how to take care of your child's asthma. Ask your child’s doctor to write one.

The student and school staff should follow this asthma action plan. Your child should be able to take asthma medicines at school when needed.

School staff should know what things make your child’s asthma worse. These are called "triggers." Your child should be able to go to another location to get away from asthma triggers, if needed.

What Should Be in Your Child’s School Asthma Plan

  • Your child’s school asthma plan should include:
  • A brief history of your child’s asthma
  • Asthma symptoms to watch out for
  • Phone numbers or e-mail address of your child's doctor, nurse, and parent or guardian
  • A list of triggers that make your child’s asthma worse. These might be:
    • Smells from chemicals and cleaners
    • Grass and weeds
    • Smoke
    • Dust
    • Cockroaches
    • Rooms that are moldy or damp
  • The student's personal best peak flow reading
  • A list of the student's asthma medicines and how to take them. These include:
    • Medicines your child takes every day to control asthma
    • Quick-relief asthma medicines when your child has symptoms
  • What to do to make sure your child can be as active as possible during recess and physical education class

Your child’s doctor and parent or guardian's signature should be on this action plan.

Who Should Have a Copy of the Action Plan

The following people should have a copy of the plan:

  • Your child's teacher
  • The school nurse
  • The school office
  • Gym teachers and coaches

References

Bruzzese JM, Evans D, Kattan M. School-based asthma programs. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009 Aug;124(2):195-200. Epub 2009 Jul 16.

Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma. Rockville, MD. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, US Dept of Health and Human Services; 2007. NIH publications 08-4051.

Updated: 5/26/2012

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


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