How To Manage Child’s Asthma At School
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects the airways. Children with asthma have airways that are inflamed. Inflamed airways are very sensitive, so they tend to react strongly to things called “triggers.” Triggers are either allergy-causing substances, such as dust mites and pollen; or irritants, such as cigarette smoke and fumes from paint and cleaning fluid. When the airways react to a trigger, they become narrower due to swelling and squeezing of the airways by the small muscles around them. This results in less air getting through to the lungs and less air getting out.
Asthma triggers and symptoms vary from one person to another. Some children have asthma symptoms only occasionally, while others have symptoms almost all the time. With proper control of asthma, children should have minimal or no asthma symptom.
Most schools have several students with asthma. Many teachers and certainly school nurses know how to help kids with the condition. Still, you can take steps to notify your child’s school and make sure that all the key people have what it takes to help him if he needs it.
You won’t always be around to help your child if his asthma flares, especially if it happens at school. So it’s important to help him learn how to handle his condition and know the people he can turn to for help. The more teachers and other adults at school know about your child’s asthma, the better it is.
The most important thing is to talk to your child and explain to him as much about asthma as he can understand at his age. The child needs to be trained to keep track of when it’s time to take his medicine and must know how to use an inhaler. As a parent, you should also brief school officials on the details of your child’s asthma. They should know how severe his condition is, his triggers, which medications he needs and how to give them, and what to do in case of an asthma attack.
Your child should have an asthma action plan that spells out the specific steps for managing his condition. Give a copy of the plan (any other details they should know) to every school official who may care for your child. You may talk to the teachers and other school officials to go over the plan.
Also, look around your child’s classroom and other areas he might go at the school to see if there are any known allergy or asthma triggers. You must bring it to the notice of the school authorities and see if the school can reduce them.
Also, it is very important to make sure the school nurse has all the medicines that your child might need during school hours, along with instructions for giving them. Remember that for some inhalers, there’s often no way to tell if the device still has medicine in it or not. You will need to keep track of the date when you send the inhaler and replace the medicines at school regularly.
It is Important to Keep the Following School Staff in Loop Pertaining to Your Child’s Condition –
• Class Teacher –
This is the person who is most likely to be around if your child has an asthma attack at school. The more she knows and the more vigilant she is, the better the chance that your child will get the care he needs.
• School Nurse –
She can give you an idea of what the school policies are for medications and other types of care.
• Performing Arts Teachers –
Talk with the art teacher, music teacher, or any other person who regularly spends time with your child.
• PE Teacher –
In addition to other teachers, the PE teacher should keep an extra eye on your child when he’s exercising, since that can trigger asthma. The PE teacher should also encourage him to participate as long as his symptoms are under control.
• Office staff and School Principal –
It is equally important to praise the Office Staff and the Principal about your child’s asthma.
• Counselor –
This is an important person to talk to, especially if your child has other issues, such as learning problems or trouble dealing with other kids.
• Substitute Teachers –
You won’t always know when there will be a sub, but make sure the regular teacher knows to inform them about your child’s asthma.
• Bus Driver –
Be sure that the bus driver is aware of your child’s asthma action plan.
It is understandable if you as a parent worry about or are over-protective about your child’s asthma problem and it’s completely reasonable for you to ask certain things so you can feel reassured that your child will be safe at school. Thus working with your child, his doctor, the teacher, and others, you can come up with a safe, sure way to manage your child’s asthma at school and that too without any hindrance to his studies.