Children who have asthma often have symptoms at school, so it is very important to get the school involved in your child's care. The student should have an asthma action plan and their rescue inhaler (albuterol or levalbuterol) at school.

As a parent, you need to work with your child’s school officials to keep track of when your child’s rescue inhaler needs to be replaced. Most multi-dose inhaler devices have dose counters. When the dose counter is on 20, a new inhaler should be given to the school.

Be sure to check every few months that the school is taking care of your child's asthma and that everyone involved understands your child's condition. Most schools have several children who have asthma, so school nurses, teachers and school administrators should be educated on their students’ asthma and their asthma action plans.

You can look at this in two ways: there are things you need to do to prevent your child from having an asthma attack at school, and there are things you need to do to make sure that your child gets the right treatment if he or she does have an asthma attack at school.

What can I do to prevent my child from having an asthma attack at school?

The most important thing is to talk to your child. Ideally, if it is age-appropriate, your child should also keep track of when it is time to take their medicine and have a basic understanding of how to use their inhaler.

School officials should know about your child's asthma, including:

  • How severe it is;
  • What the child’s asthma triggers are;
  • The child’s rescue medication and how to properly give it;
  • The plan for an asthma attack.

This can be done by giving the school a “school asthma action plan.” If possible, you should try to arrange a meeting with the school officials and explain the triggers, severity, symptoms and treatment for your child's asthma.

The more that teachers and staff at your child’s school know about asthma and its management, the more proactive they can be in a critical situation.

What emergency instructions should I give the school for my child’s asthma?

The school should have a clear set of instructions with the following information:

  • What symptoms school personnel should look out for (your care provider can help with this);
  • What treatment they should give;
  • When to call your health care provider; and,
  • When to call 911.

Make sure that the instruction sheet you give to all school officials has your doctor's phone number, your preferred hospital (emergency room), and contact numbers for you, other guardians for the child, and a trusted friend.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 04/03/2019.

References

  • National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Asthma & Physical Activity in the School - Making a Difference. (https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/public/lung/phy_asth.pdf) Accessed 4/5/2019.
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma in Schools. (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/asthma/) Accessed 4/5/2019.
  • American Lung Association. Master Planning - Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative. (http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/asthma-education-advocacy/asthma-friendly-schools-initiative/toolkit/master-planning.html) Accessed 4/5/2019.

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