Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease caused by inflammation, mucus production, and constriction of the airways. Asthma can be aggravated by allergies to pollen or dust, viral illness, cold, strong emotions, or exercise. There is no cure, but asthma can be controlled with proper diagnosis and management. Treatment consists of avoiding known triggers, recognizing early symptoms, monitoring with a peak flow meter, and medication to reduce or prevent symptoms. Below you will find helpful links for information regarding asthma.
School Considerations for Students with Asthma
If your student has asthma, he or she may require medication or treatment during the school day. An Asthma Care Plan from your Health Care Provider must be completed and returned to the school annually along with your student’s medication. All medications and inhalers must have a pharmacy label with your student's name and the dosage. The School Nurse will review all forms and determine if additional information is required. School staff will be trained and delegated by the School Nurse to administer medication to your child as prescribed.
Most elementary age students do not carry their own inhalers, but instead, the inhalers are kept in the health office for easy access. This will allow for adult supervision to ensure the student’s proper use of the inhaler, as well as their response to the medication. If your student is going to self carry an inhaler, please be sure to have the Health Care Provider indicate that on the Asthma Care Plan. Additionally, the parent, student, and the School Nurse will sign a Self Carry Contract for Inhalers (Español). It is strongly recommended to also have a backup inhaler in the health office in the event a student loses or forgets their inhaler.
Students who will require the use of a nebulizer must have a completed Asthma Care Plan. The student will need to bring in the medication that will be used in the nebulizer as well as their own nebulizer machine, tubing, and mask/pipe. In some instances, a nebulizer machine can be borrowed for use in the school health office. For questions about using a school nebulizer machine, contact your school health office or the School Nurse. All nebulizer equipment and medication will be kept in the school health office.
When No Medication Is Available At School
In the event a student is having an asthma exacerbation while at school and there is not an Asthma Care Plan and/or medications available, school staff will take the following steps:
- Observe the student’s level of distress. If the student appears in severe distress, 911 will be called.
- Offer the student sips of warm water and continue to observe closely for worsening symptoms while the student sits to rest.
- Notify the parent and/or School Nurse.