Sending Your Child to School with Asthma
If your child has asthma, sending them to school doesn’t have to be scary. With the proper precautions, teaching, and planning, you and your child will be well-equipped for asthma attacks and triggers. Stepping Stone Pediatrics is lucky to have Meg Graves, one of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, who has subspecialty experience caring for patients for the Pediatric Pulmonology division at Maimonides Health Center in New York City. Meg coordinates care for our asthma patients, helping them avoid exacerbations and unnecessary asthma complications.
Help Your Child Identify Their Triggers
Asthma triggers are different for every child. While many of the triggers are allergies like pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold, triggers can also be in the form of food allergies, emotional distress, smoke, exercise, weather changes, and even some smells. Discover exactly what your child’s triggers are and teach them to try and avoid these triggers as much as possible.
As they grow older, they’ll be better able to know when to slow down while exercising, what foods may contain their allergy, or how to calm their emotions in a stressful situation. The more you work with them to understand their triggers and work around them, the safer school will be.
Notify Appropriate School Staff and Personnel
Asthma attacks can happen at any time, without much warning. For school staff and personnel, it’s important that they know what your child is going through so that they can respond appropriately in the event of an attack. At the beginning of the school year, let your child’s teachers, coaches, school nurses, principals, lunch aids, and bus drivers know about their asthma and what an appropriate plan of action is in case of an attack.
It may help to let them know what your child’s triggers are and what your child is capable of doing for their own care. If you have a young child, the school staff person may have to help distribute their medicine.
Ensure Medications are Easily Accessible
One of the best ways to control your child’s asthma is to have inhalers and necessary medication available in their trigger areas. While school regulations may limit where you can keep medication, check with your school principal to see if they can keep their medication nearby. If they can keep an inhaler in the cafeteria, gym, in their backpack, and in their classroom, they may have a better chance of preventing a full-blown asthma attack.
Create an Asthma Action Plan
A great way to keep your child safe at school is to create an asthma action plan. This is a written plan you can hand out to school personnel with all the information they might need in the event of an asthma attack. It should have all necessary contact information including: your name and phone numbers, emergency contact name and number if you cannot be reached, your pediatrician’s name and number, and the name and number of the closest hospital. It should also include your child’s medications, dosages, and usage instructions, a list of your child’s triggers, and your child’s best peak flow meter reading.
Your asthma action plan should also include a green, yellow, red zone guide explaining how to know when your child needs assistance. The green zone is when your child is happy, healthy, and breathing fine. The yellow zone occurs when there are worrisome signs including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, or difficulty doing normal activities. During this zone, have a plan of action to treat the symptoms like an aerosol inhaler, rest, and slow, deep breathing. The red zone occurs when breathing is hard and fast, talking is difficult, ribs are visible, and they may have trouble walking. During this stage, rescue medications are vital and emergency medical services may be necessary.
Find Expert Asthma Care at Stepping Stone Pediatrics
Avoid asthma complications with expert care from Meg Graves and the healthcare team at Stepping Stone Pediatrics in Kennesaw. Our center offers well-child visits, same day appointments, a Healthy Lifestyles clinic, extended adolescent care checkups, prenatal consultations, and more. Call us at 770-515-9000 to schedule an appointment.