Take Control of Asthma This School Year

Published 12:58 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2012

(NewsUSA) – If your child has asthma, add this to your checklist: a written asthma action plan from your child’s health care provider.

“For 7 million children in the U.S., asthma is a lifelong disease that requires daily care. But with proper treatment, most children who have asthma can spend as much time in the classroom, or being physically active, as those who do not have asthma,” said James P. Kiley, Ph.D., director of the Division of Lung Diseases at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

This school year, take control of asthma:

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* Work with your child’s health care provider to create a written asthma action plan. It will tell you what to do every day to control your child’s asthma and how to handle asthma when it gets worse. Asthma symptoms, or attacks, which may include coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, or wheezing, can disrupt learning and limit everyday activities. By following the written action plan, you and your child can prevent symptoms, treat them promptly if they do occur to prevent a severe attack, and help your child participate fully in all school activities.

* Share copies of the asthma action plan with the school nurse, teacher and coach. By working as a team with you, your child and your child’s health care provider, school staff can help you and your child prevent asthma attacks and missed school days.

* Make sure your child has easy access to quick-relief medicine at all times. All 50 states and the District of Columbia allow children with asthma with signed consent to carry and use their own quick-relief inhalers at school. You and your child’s health care provider can also give the school a second inhaler to have on hand in case your child needs it. If your child can’t or won’t carry and use the quick-relief inhaler on his or her own, be sure an inhaler is readily available with your school nurse (or designee) and your child knows when and how to seek help if asthma gets worse at school.

You can visit the website www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/asthma/links.html for these publications from the NHLBI’s National Asthma Education and Prevention Program: How Asthma Friendly Is Your School?, Asthma & Physical Activity in the School, and a sample Asthma Action Plan. They can help you, your child and your child’s school take control of asthma this school year.