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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 your child's school staff an asthma action plan that tells them 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 action plan?

Your child's school asthma action plan should include:

  • Phone numbers or email address of your child's doctor, nurse, parents, and guardians
  • A brief history of your child's asthma
  • Asthma symptoms to watch for
  • Your child's personal best peak flow reading
  • What to do to make sure your child can be as active as possible during recess and physical education class

Include a list of triggers that make your child's asthma worse, such as:

  • Smells from chemicals and cleaning products
  • Grass and weeds
  • Smoke
  • Dust
  • Cockroaches
  • Rooms that are moldy or damp

Provide details about your child's asthma medicines and how to take them, including:

Lastly, your child's doctor and parent or guardian's signatures should be on the action plan as well.

Who should have a copy of your child's school asthma action plan?

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

References

Bruzzese JM, Evans D, Kattan M. School-based asthma programs. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2009;124:195-200.

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: 4/26/2014

Denis Hadjiliadis, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.


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