Back-to-School Tips for Kids With Asthma

It’s back-to-school time — time for new shoes, fresh notebooks, and a fun new lunchbox. And if you’re the parent of a child with asthma, back-to-school time is also an ideal time to go over your child’s asthma preparation plan.

More than 9 million kids in the United States have asthma, a condition in which they sometimes have trouble breathing. Asthma causes swelling and inflammation in a child’s airways, triggering symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and difficulty breathing.

As you send your child back to school, your health care providers at New Hope Medical Clinic in Gastonia, North Carolina, would like to share these helpful tips with you.

Make sure your child’s asthma action plan is up to date

An asthma action plan is a written plan that your health care specialist provides. The plan includes specific steps that you, your child, and the school nurse can take when asthma flares up, including which medications to use at what times.

Your child’s asthma action plan also includes a list of triggers to avoid, advice for managing various symptoms, and when to seek emergency care. Be sure to share your child’s asthma plan with the school nurse in case your child has an asthma attack at school.

If your child’s asthma action plan is not up to date, call our office for an appointment. The action plan should be reviewed at least every six months.

Schedule a check-in with the school medical office

Meeting with the nurse at your child’s school gives you an opportunity to discuss your child’s symptoms and treatment plan and make sure the school is ready to help your child in the event of an asthma attack. Remember to bring along any medical forms or medications that you need to give to the nurse.

Check all medications

If your child takes medications for asthma, check to make sure you have enough of each medication on hand. You may need extra if your child requires a separate set of medications in the school medical office.

Don’t forget to check the expiration date on all asthma medications and to call our office for new prescriptions if you are running low or if the old ones have expired. Don’t wait until you’re out of medication to call for another prescription.

Remind your child to watch out for triggers

Various triggers may set off your child’s asthma, such as pet dander, mold, pollen, cigarette smoke, cold air, or exercise. In school, your child may have trouble breathing after exposure to cleaning products, dust, pesticides, perfume worn by teachers or other students, a class pet, or pet hair on others’ clothing.

Talk with your child about their asthma triggers and help them understand how to avoid the things that set off their asthma.

Review your child’s self-management strategies

As children get older, they can take on greater responsibility for avoiding asthma triggers, managing their symptoms, and even using medication. Be sure your child knows what to do to prevent an asthma attack or how to respond if they start having symptoms.

When your child is old enough, they can carry a quick-relief inhaler with them at all times to use when they start having trouble breathing. Your child’s doctor here at New Hope Medical Clinic can work with you to determine when your child is responsible enough to carry a quick-relief inhaler.

By planning ahead, you can ensure that having asthma won’t interfere with a successful school year for your child. Your health care providers at New Hope Medical Clinic are happy to work with you, your child, and your child’s school to manage your child’s asthma. To learn more about kids and asthma, call us or use our online scheduling tool to make an appointment. We serve residents of Gastonia, North Carolina, and its surrounding communities.

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