More than 5 million children in the United States suffer from asthma and need support at school to keep their asthma under control and be fully active. If your child is diagnosed with asthma, here are some important questions to ask the school:
____ Is the school free of tobacco smoke all of the time, including school-sponsored events?
____ Does the school regularly reduce or eliminate allergens and irritants that can make asthma worse?
____ Does the school have any carpeting?
____ Is there a school nurse on site all day, every day?
____ Can children take medicine at school as recommended by their doctor and parents?
____ Are kids allowed to carry their own asthma medicines at school?
____ Does the school have an emergency plan for taking care of a child with a severe asthma attack?
____ Has school staff been trained about asthma, asthma management plans, and asthma medicines?
____ Are students taught about asthma and how to help a classmate who has it?
____ Do students with asthma have good options for fully and safely participating in physical education class or recess? (For example, do they have access to their medicine before exercise? Can they choose modified or alternative activities when medically necessary?)
If the answer to any of these questions is "no," the school may actually be playing a role in hindering students from getting their asthma under control. And uncontrolled asthma can affect a student's attendance, participation, and progress in school. By asking these questions, you may be helping to educate the school staff about what they can do to help a child with asthma.
For more information on how schools can assist children with asthma, visit http://www.aanma.org, the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program Web site.
Sources: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; National Institutes of Health; National Asthma Education and Prevention Program School Asthma Education Subcommittee
All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.