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Count asthma absent

A girl with a backpack in front of her school steps

If your child has asthma, you can help ensure that his or her medical needs are met at school.

Kids miss school for a lot of different reasons: colds, flu, tests.

And asthma.

Children in the United States miss millions of school days each year because of asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Asthma symptoms can also prevent kids from concentrating in class, participating in athletics and enjoying recess.

Parents may do a good job of keeping a home asthma-safe, but they have less control over lung irritants in the classroom such as dander from classroom pets, dust and mold.

Parents must work with teachers and schools to make schools safe, according to the American Lung Association (ALA).

Spread the word

If your child has asthma, be sure school administrators, the school nurse and teachers know about it. Coaches and physical education teachers need to know too.

Some schools have a special file, sometimes called a school management plan, to track a child with particular health needs such as asthma. Sometimes a child's doctor helps develop the plan. If your child's school uses such plans, be sure one is filed for your child.

Keep meds ready

In most cases, asthma attacks can be prevented or treated with prescription medicines, according to the ALA. Make sure your child can use his or her medications as needed.

Children should be allowed to carry asthma inhalers with them during school, according to laws in all 50 states. Talk to school administrators to be sure that they understand your state's law about students carrying their asthma medicine.

Most asthma can be successfully managed. With treatment, children who have asthma shouldn't have a problem fully participating in school and sports activities.

Talk to your child's doctor if you have any questions or concerns about your child's asthma medicine.

What you need to teach

Children with asthma must learn a few things before they go to school.

They need to know how and when to use their asthma medications. Medicines used to prevent attacks must be taken correctly to be effective.

Children should also be aware of things that trigger their asthma and try to avoid them. A teacher may be able to help your child steer clear of some irritants. Other triggers are hard to avoid, which is why preventive medication is so important.

If there's a problem

If a teacher doesn't seem to understand your child's needs, set up a meeting to talk with him or her and, if needed, the school nurse or an administrator.

Reviewed 7/1/2023

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