Asthma in Schools

How asthma-friendly is your school? Every year, asthma is one of the main illness-related reasons that students miss school.

As the parent/guardian of a student with asthma, you may have lots of questions about how can you work with your school to make sure your child stays safe and healthy during the day. The following information may be able to answer some of these questions.

Communicating with Schools about Asthma

Managing a child's asthma is a team effort, involving you, your child, your child's healthcare providers and the school. All members of the team want to be able to communicate, ask questions, and share information about your child's health and well-being.

Back-to-School with Asthma Checklist

Use a Back-to-School Checklist to make sure you and your child are ready for a safe and healthy school year.

You probably have lots of questions and concerns about how your child's asthma can be managed while they are at school. Here are some tips for effective communication:

  • At the beginning of the school year, make sure to contact school health services and let them know about your child's asthma. This provides you with the opportunity to get to know the school nurse and any other health services staff.
  • By law, the school needs your permission to communicate student health information to your child's healthcare provider. Find out from the school what they need from you to allow this important communication to happen. That way if prescriptions change, or if your child has an asthma emergency, everyone on the "team" can be kept informed.
  • Be sure your child has a recent Asthma Action Plan filled out by your health care provider to be filed at the school.
  • In our districts, policies are in place that allows a student to carry and self-administer their own asthma medication. Contact the school nurse to find out more about policy and practice.

Things to Consider:

  • Does your child want to be able to carry and self-administer asthma medicines?
  • Can your child identify warning signs and symptoms of asthma?
  • Does your child understand which medicine to take and when?
  • Does your child use correct technique when using the inhaler?
  • Is your child aware of the possible side effects of asthma medicines and what to report?

Is your child willing to comply with school's rules about use of medicine at school, which include:

  • Keeping the asthma inhaler with him/her at all times
  • Notifying a responsible adult (e.g. teacher, nurse, coach, playground assistant) during the day when a quick-relief inhaler is used
  • Not sharing asthma medicine with other students or leaving the medicine unattended
  • Not using a quick-relief asthma inhaler for any other use than what is intended
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