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Asthma: School

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KEY POINTS

  • You want to feel that your child is safe at school and make sure that your child is not treated differently because of the asthma. Teach those who will be working with your child at school about asthma. Call the school to discuss the best way to inform everyone who needs to know, including teachers, the school nurse, bus driver, gym teacher, lunchroom workers, and others involved with your child at school.
  • Make sure your child avoids things that may trigger asthma symptoms. Also make sure that your child keeps a quick-relief inhaler with him or her and knows how to use it correctly.

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You may have a young child who is not old enough to manage his or her own asthma care. Or you may have an older child who still needs some guidance. Either way, you want to feel that your child is safe at school and make sure that your child is not treated differently because of the asthma. Following these guidelines will help your child have a safe and healthy year at school.

What do I need to tell the school?

Teach those who will be working with your child at school about asthma. Call the school to discuss the best way to inform everyone who needs to know, including teachers, the school nurse, bus driver, gym teacher, lunchroom workers, and others involved with your child at school. It’s usually best to do this in the week before classes start.

It’s important NOT to leave it up to your child to educate school staff. Your child may be self-conscious or embarrassed and not want to talk to people at school.

What supplies do I need to give the school?

State and federal laws require that schools keep information about your child’s care that may include these forms and others:

  • An Asthma Action Plan with your child’s photo
  • An Emergency Response Plan that outlines what to do in case of an emergency
  • Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
  • A Section 504 Plan

Your child should wear a medical ID necklace or bracelet every day.

How does my child get medicine at school?

By law, students can carry quick-relief asthma medicines with them at all times. Teachers, coaches, school nurses, and administrators can help by reminding the student to take asthma medicine between classes or activities

What else should I do?

  • Make sure the school has good air quality: Classrooms, areas around the school, buses, and sporting events should be tobacco-free. Furnace and air conditioning air filters should be changed regularly. School staff should avoid using products with strong odors when children may be exposed. This includes cleaning chemicals, bug sprays, perfume, and air fresheners.
  • Field days and field trips: Field days or field trips usually involve exercise and exposure to possible asthma triggers such as animals, dust, or cockroaches. Make sure that everyone knows what steps to take while on a field trip or at an off-campus sports event.
  • Gym class: It’s very important for your child’s gym teacher or coach to have a copy of your child’s health plan and know what steps to take if your child has an asthma attack. Exercise is as important for children with asthma as for other children. Make sure that your child doesn’t miss gym or sports activities.
  • Substitute teachers: Ask to have a copy of your child's School Health Plan put in the substitute teacher's folder and the attendance register. Attach a picture of your child to the School Health Plan so teachers will know which student has asthma.
  • Make sure your child knows how to use inhalers correctly and takes medicines exactly as prescribed. Your child should always have quick-relief medicine on hand and available.
  • Learn what things can trigger your child’s symptoms and how to avoid or manage them. For example, you may need to cover your child’s mattress, box springs, and pillows with zippered plastic covers. It may help if your child stays indoors during recess when the humidity or pollen count is high. Make sure that school grounds are a smoke-free zone.
  • Help prevent colds and flu. Colds and flu make asthma worse and often trigger episodes of asthma.
    • Try to avoid close contact with people who have a cold or the flu.
    • Teach your child to wash hands before eating and when exposed to others who may have a cold or the flu.
    • Make sure your child gets a yearly flu shot. This helps prevent complications of influenza for children with asthma.
Developed by Change Healthcare.
Pediatric Advisor 2019.4 published by Change Healthcare.
Last modified: 2018-06-13
Last reviewed: 2018-06-12
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
© 2018 Change Healthcare LLC and/or one of its subsidiaries
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