Asthma attacks are very common among young children, and they can range from mild to severe. Although school personnel have partial responsibility for your child while at school, it is up to you to manage their symptoms when they are away from home.
While it is impossible to eliminate the risk of your child having an asthma attack while you’re not by their side, there are a lot of ways you can minimize it. Here are some of the most important ones that you should consider applying today:
1. Help identify and remove triggers
Asthma triggers may be impossible to get rid of entirely in a school setting. Still, it is imperative to minimize them to the point that it is unlikely for them to cause an actual attack among asthmatic students. Helping the school identify and remove these triggers can make a huge difference, both for your child and other students with respiratory problems. For example, if there are many dust mites within the premises, suggest that the air filters for the school be replaced since dust mites are common triggers for asthmatic individuals.
Other common triggers include cigarette smoke, mold, and pet dander. Be on the lookout for these triggers whenever you visit the school, and instruct your child to tell you if they spot any triggers while they are at school. Whenever you see one, let the teacher or principal know so that they can take proper action.
2. Alert the school staff
If your child has asthma, the adults responsible for them while they are at school should know. Tell their teachers about your child’s condition, especially their homeroom and physical education teacher, as well as the school nurse. When appropriate, it may also be beneficial to tell the parents of your child’s friends at school.
Give the school personnel a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan. This way, school staff know how to help prevent asthma attacks and what to do if your child suffers one. Having at least one knowledgeable adult help out your child in the middle of an attack can help you avoid the emergency room—or perhaps something worse. If your child plays sports, don’t forget to give a copy to their coach as well.
3. Ensure access to asthma medication
Always make sure that your child has quick-relief asthma medication inside their bag every time they go to school. Make it a part of your daily routine to check if the medication is in their bag and that they know where it is located. It is also a good idea to give their teacher spare medication if your child loses their medication while at school. The same goes for the school nurse; make sure that they have your child’s medication in their office as an extra layer of protection, and don’t forget to replace them regularly.
Furthermore, ensure that your child knows how to use their medication and that their teacher knows how to administer it as well. If your child is old enough, you may also want to teach their friends how to use it in case your child suffers an attack when there are no adults around.
4. Train your child to alert others
During an attack, getting help right away is imperative to stop it as soon as possible. Train your child to ask for help as soon as they start to feel their asthma symptoms (and make sure they can recognize these symptoms), especially if they are very young. Some children may be hesitant to alert others in fear of causing a disruption in class. So it is imperative that they know why and how they should get help.
5. Work with the doctor
If your child’s school does not allow students to carry medication, ask your doctor for help in getting approval from the school’s board. Usually, your child will have to show that they can carry their asthma medication responsibly, and the doctor will give the school a recommendation if your child demonstrates these skills.
To be more specific, your child will have to prove that they are mature enough to carry medication and administer it while they are at school. Through proper practice and education, this can be very easy to achieve.
It can be very nerve-wracking to send your child to school knowing that they can have an asthma attack at any time, but as you can see, there are many ways to minimize that risk. By following these tips, you can not only reduce the risk of your child suffering an asthma attack—but you can also help them manage their symptoms more independently.