A new school year can mean new teachers, coaches, bus drivers, and even a whole new school environment. For parents of children with asthma, back-to-school time is the right time to make sure everything is in place to take care of any asthma emergencies before school gets under way.
The American Lung Association (ALA) shared this check-list to help parents keep their children healthy during the school year.
• Asthma action plan – Write down details caregivers should know to help take care of your child. Include symptoms of the start of an attack, medications, including how much and how often the medicine can be used, and any special restrictions that need to apply such as taking medications before exercising or limiting exercise if air quality is poor. Also include instructions on what to do if medications don’t make symptoms better and how to tell if emergency help is needed.
• Get a checkup – Even if your child’s asthma seems to be well controlled, back-to-school is a good time to check in with his/her doctor to make sure the asthma plan is up to date. This is also a good opportunity to talk about plans for the year such as playing sports or adding a musical instrument that may need special consideration.
• Avoid the flu – The flu can be even more dangerous for children with asthma. Take steps early to help your child avoid the flu by getting flu shots as soon as they are available. And don’t stop with your child. Everyone in the family over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot to help keep the virus out of your household. For parents who wonder if a flu shot is safe for children with asthma, Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association had this to say: “The good news is that research has shown conclusively that getting a flu shot does not trigger an asthma attack.”
• Talk to teachers – Having a written asthma plan is important, but face-to-face contact with teachers, coaches and anyone else who will be responsible for your child is the best way to share important information.