Sending Your Asthmatic Child to School: How To Prepare
In the United States, 6.8 million children (between the ages of 0 and 17) suffer from asthma. Asthma is a chronic respiratory illness, characterized by episodes of strained breathing. It can be a difficult condition to live with, causing disruption in everyday activities - something that can be particularly difficult for children going to school.In addition to the time wasted trying to control asthma, actually experiencing an attack can be very frightening, to adults and children alike. While there is no cure, there are many ways to monitor and treat asthma. Also important to note is the fact that most asthma attacks are brought on by environmental triggers - such as dust, pollen, or even cold air. Avoiding these triggers, when possible, is one of the easiest ways to prevent the symptoms of asthma. Some asthma triggers aren't so easy to avoid, however. Particularly sensitive asthmatics can react to molds and dusts in the air, something that can be difficult and costly to for schools to control. In cases like this, it is important for parents to talk with their children about their asthma: how to recognize symptoms and who to contact in the event of an asthma attack.
Before the School Year Begins
Sit down with your child and be sure they understand their asthma. What things bring on an attack? What symptoms warrant use of an inhaler? How long should he/she wait before contacting a staff member if the inhaler isn't helping?
Meet With Staff
Plan a meeting with the school staff who need to know about your child's asthma. Your child's teachers, physical education instructors, and school nurses are all people who need to understand the particulars of your child's asthma: what worsens his/her asthma, how to use an inhaler, what symptoms indicate an emergency, and what peak flow zones are normal for your child.
Asthma Action Plan
Put together a written collection of everything your child or school staff members will need to know in case of an asthma attack. Include things like what sets off an asthma attack, what kind (long-term control or fast acting) and how much medication to take, and emergency phone numbers. This plan can be given to school nurses, physical education instructors, and placed somewhere in your child's backpack.
During the School Year
As much as we love our children, they don't always do the right thing. Be conscious of your child's medication-taking habits. Sometimes asthma can be used as an excuse to leave class or sit out on a physical activity. If you notice such habits, talk with your children about it. Sometimes confrontation and expression of disappointment is enough to inspire a child to behave. If the habit continues after reprimanding, it may be helpful to have the child talk with a psychologist. Asthma can be difficult, but with careful monitoring, avoiding things that trigger an attack, and appropriate treatment, children can have a nearly normal school life. http://www.njc.org/disease-info/diseases/asthma/kids/living/index.aspx http://www.aasa.org/files/PDFs/Publications/Spring_20031.pdf http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad381.pdf
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