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Controlling Asthma Attacks in School

Updated on March 31, 2013
Choose the right school for your asthmatic Kid
Choose the right school for your asthmatic Kid | Source

What is Asthma?

Asthma is a common respiratory disease which affects the lungs causing difficulties to breathe, seizures, increased mucous production and coughing. Many people develop asthma in childhood and it is estimated that up to 15 million Americans suffer from asthma.

Children who suffer from asthma have inflamed airways which are very reactive to asthmatic triggers including allergens and irritants. When the inflamed airways come into contact with these triggers they react by constricting and causing symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, excessive mucous production and difficulties in breathing. These symptoms in many of the reported asthmatic cases can be life-threatening if not attended to.

The fact that asthma strikes at a tender age, can be life-threatening and is incurable is a major cause of worry to parents with school-going children. in fact, research has shown that asthma is one of the chief reasons for absenteeism in American schools. However, with the correct management, most of the stress brought about by asthma in school-going children can be brought to rest.

(click column header to sort results)
Inflammatory Triggers  
Symptom Triggers  
Dust mites
Cold Air
Food Addictives like Sulfites
Intense Emotions
Viral Infections
Chemical fumes and strong smelling subsatnces e.g. perfumes
Inflammatory (allergic triggers) cause the inflammation of airways. Symptom triggers (non-allergic triggers) do not cause inflammation of airways but may cause 'twitchy' airways.

Choosing a Good School for Your Asthmatic Child

Proper management of your kid's asthmatic condition begins with the choice of school you make. You must particularly work close with your school's administration and medical personnel to ensure that your school offers a safe environment for your child.

Make sure that you provide the school administration with all the details they require to monitor your child's health while s/he is at school. Towards this end, you may have your doctor draft a letter to the school administration detailing your child's medical condition. Communicating with the school administration about your child medical condition is the first step towards safeguarding your child's health.

Among the few things you should check out for when choosing a school for your asthmatic child include:

  • Good Indoor and Outdoor Air Quality

How free from pollutants is the air around the school your child is attending? Does it remove and/or avoid the use allergens and irritants in the school? What is their policy on things such as perfumes, paints? How clean is it from dust both from within and from without?

  • Medical Personnel and Provisions in The School

Does the school have a medical officer or a nurse who is qualified to deal with cases of asthma? Does the school clinic stock asthma medications? Are there emergency measures to deal with asthmatic cases in the school?

  • Does the School Allow the Student Convenient Access to Relief Medication

Many asthma patients are prescribed to take relief medication from time. The school you choose should allow the child access to the relief medication conveniently. The child should for example be allowed to keep the medication in his backpack or desk in the classroom.

  • Peer Education

Having a school that emphasizes the need for peer pressure so that other children can take care of their counterparts in case of an attack in the absence of an adult is important. As parents with kids suffering from asthma, you could make a proposition to the school admin to offer peer education to the pupils.

Preparing Your Child to Tackle Asthma at School

You need to prep your kid on the proper way of handling asthmatic attacks while in school. Start by making them understand the importance of the medication prescribed to them. Making them understand the difference between the two type of inhalers; You could do this by color coding the inhalers, lets say giving a purple color to the one for relief, and blue color to the prevention inhaler.

Find ways of encouraging your child to use the preventive asthma therapy kit while at school. The best way to do this, and one that I have found works with many children is tying the use of the preventive kit with another more common behavior, for example, brushing of teeth after every meal. Of course, we cannot stress enough the importance of using the preventive asthma kit while at school.

Kids with asthma may also require you to work towards making them feel normal. Constantly point out that their condition in no way makes them weaker than the other kids in the school.

Legal Framework Dealing With Asthma In Schools

Many states in America have legal frameworks set in place to deal with cases of asthma. Find out from your representative what legal framework applies in your neighborhood, you never know when it may come in handy.


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