Going back to school is a fun and exciting time for kids! But for kids with asthma, it can be a bit scary. With a new environment and new people it’s important to cover all your asthma bases before the first bell rings. Here are some great tips at how you and your child can be prepared – and not let his or her asthma get in the way of a great start!
Get in to see the Doc
It’s always a good idea to touch base with your child’s doctor before school starts. Review your child’s Asthma Action Plan (AAP) and make sure everything is ready to go. It should be clear to you and your child what to do when symptoms arise. Sometimes schools even ask to have the AAP on file, so it’s smart to go over it together with your doctor one last time!
Make sure you have all the prescriptions and medications your child needs ahead of time. Check the expiration dates on all medicines. Talk to your doctor or an asthma educator about reviewing the way your child uses an inhaler, or any other medications, so there are no doubts when she leaves for school the first day.
Get to know the school
If possible, ask to tour the school before the first day to identify potential asthma triggers. Set a game plan with your child about how to deal with these identified triggers and where he or she should go if help is needed.
Get to know the staff
Keep your child’s teacher, and other staff, in the know. Talk with your child’s teacher about your child’s specific asthma condition as well as her AAP. Make sure you and your child are familiar with other key people at the school, like the principal, school nurse, sports coaches and others that should be aware in case of emergency or to assist in treatment.
Classroom is key
There are often many common asthma triggers in the classroom. Think about what classroom activities are likely to set off symptoms and talk with the teacher about creative ways to avoid these activities or reduce exposure.
Keep your child involved
Involve your child in all these steps and keep him hands-on in the process. Empowering your child in the before-school preparation helps her feel more in control and leads to better management when you aren’t there. Let your child choose a fun way to keep his inhaler and AAP close, like a special pocket or a fun bag with a favorite cartoon character on it.
Check out the Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers website for more information.