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Back-to-School Basics

Returning to the Classroom with Asthma and Allergies Requires Planning.

At School with Asthma(Excerpted from freshAAIR, AAFA's free national newsletter). The beginning of the school year is stressful for most healthy children and their parents. But if your child has asthma or allergies, the anticipation of the coming school year becomes just a bit more nerve-racking. It doesn’t have to be that way; with some preparation and organization, you and your kids can have a problem-free year.

Triggers inside and outside the classroom are everywhere. Rugs or carpeting can collect dirt and dust mites. Furry animals in class are cute but problematic. Rigorous sports may exert your student. Then there are bees on the playground, and freshly mowed grass, trees and weeds outside the classroom.For children with food allergies, the cafeteria presents a problem, so do the bag lunches friends bring to school and the treats sent by other parents.

Any of these allergens and irritants can send a child with allergies or asthma into a full-blown reaction.You can’t be in control of everything children will be exposed to at school. But there are several basic steps you can take before the bell rings to ensure their health.

  • Be sure your child’s medical information is complete, up-to date, and in a form that is easily understandable by the school staff. 

  • Hand in a Child Asthma/Allergy Action Cards which lists daily medications, triggers that can set off an attack, symptoms and emergency plans. 

  • Your child’s name and the dosage should be attached to every medication. 

  • Set up appointments to meet with the school nurse, your child’s teachers, including the physical education teacher, and even the principal at a time when the school staff is not too busy. 

  • If your child has food allergies, you will also want to speak to the cafeteria staff about food choices or special accommodations. Be clear and concise about the seriousness of the allergy, what your child is allergic to, and what can be done to ensure safety. It may help the staff if a picture of your child is posted in the kitchen. 

  • Speak to your own children about their responsibility to take medications or not to take food from other kids. Even at an early age, it is critical that your children begin to identify symptoms and learn to ask for help. Explain that they have to take action immediately because the symptoms probably won’t go away.
  • Also read "At School with Asthma" to learn more!

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