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School and Asthma

Asthma flare-ups are the main reason that kids with asthma miss school. And they miss a lot — in the U.S., more than 13 million schooldays are missed each year because of asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But well-managed asthma is far less likely to result in a sick day. When kids' asthma is under control, they have far fewer flare-ups.

How Can I Keep My Child Healthy for School?

The first step is to work with your doctor to create a written asthma action plan that will tell you what medicines your child needs to take, how they should be taken, what triggers to avoid, and more. Make sure to give the school staff a copy of the asthma action plan.

At the start of each school year, meet with your child's teacher and other school staff to discuss the plan. You should talk about:

A supportive school environment that helps kids take charge of their own care is important. Without it, kids might avoid taking their medicines. Encourage the school's staff to help your child settle into a comfortable routine.

How Can We Handle Asthma Flare-Ups at School?

Ideally, quick-relief medicine (also called rescue or fast-acting medicine) should always be readily available to kids. For kids who aren't old enough to take the medicine on their own, this means that the teacher will have it in the classroom. And if not, it will be readily available (not under lock and key) in the school nurse's office.

Once kids are old enough to know how and when to take their medicine, they should carry it at all times, if the school allows. Your doctor can help you decide when your child is responsible for the medicine.

Talk to school officials and find out what they allow. Stress the importance of immediate treatment during an asthma flare-up. They might let your child take the medicine on his or her own, but might ask you to sign an "asthma contract." This might say that you give permission for your child to take medicine and, if needed, who can give it to your child.

How Can We Deal With Asthma Triggers at School?

Part of avoiding flare-ups is to avoid triggers like dust mites and chalk dust. Let the school staff know your child's triggers. You also might:

Date reviewed: September 2017

Note: All information on KidsHealth® is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

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