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Savannah Allergy Associates

Allergist - Taking Asthma To School

Adapted from an article by Gregory Alford in the May/June 2004 issue of Asthma Magazine, a publication of the AAAAI.

                 TheAmerican Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that asthma results in 14 million missed school days each year.  Nationally, one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma.  With conditions as serious as these, school nurses are taking on an increasingly important role in providing consistent asthma treatment for our children.  In the Madison Illinois Metropolitan School District, for example, 26 full-time positions are filled throughout the district with master’s degree—prepared advance practice nurses.  Each school also has a nurse’s assistant and together these professionals coordinate the care of students with conditions ranging from asthma to ADD.

                According to nurse, Lisa Keller, “Our primary goal is to keep these kids in school.  They can’t learn if they are not here.  We’re all about attendance.”  In addition to helping kids increase their healthy days, school nurses can also help students develop the skills they need to independently manage their asthma.  They can teach proper technique for medication usage and help older students to keep track of when medication refills and medical appointments are needed.

                If a child has asthma and needs to take medication or monitor peak flow meter readings during the day, there are several steps parents can take to help develop a useful relationship with the school’s health officials.

Working with Your School Nurse

ü       Learn as much as you can about asthma

ü       If your child has health care needs that require advance planning, be sure to share that information with the school nurse prior to the start of the school year.

ü       Make sure your child’s immunizations are up to date and ask whether a flu shot is appropriate.

ü       Have your child’s doctor provide a written asthma plan for school, such as the Asthma School Action Plan located on the Patients and Consumers page of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology website,

ü       Tell the school nurse when your child may need additional medication or attention.

ü       Maintain and distribute the name and dose of medications your child takes.

ü       Provide the school with a complete list of emergency telephone numbers.

Source:  American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the Madison Metropolitan School District.

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