Back to School with Asthma


Written by: Douglas H. Jones, MD – Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Physician

Ready or not, here it comes! Back to school time is already upon us. There’s hustle and bustle in the clothing stores and the school supply aisles are packed withe ager and excited students and parents. For parents who have children with asthma, this season may not be as exciting. it can be very overwhelming. Provided are some tips to get ready for the school year.

  1. Don’t assume people know how to help your child when he or she has an asthma attack. Talk with your child’s teacher(s). Inform them of the symptoms (recurrent coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, etc.) that can develop and inform them on how to help your child us an inhaler.
  2. Talk with the school nurse. Inform him or her that your child has asthma. Ask what precautions can be made to help keep your child safe, such as keeping a rescue inhaler near your child at all times. Review the protocol with the nurse and ask who will notify parents or guardians if your child has an asthma attack. Identify any potential asthma triggers in the school at that time as well.
  3. Talk with your child. Make sure he or she knows what to do when having an asthma attack. Encourage your child to seek out help from an adult when he or she first develops symptoms instead of waiting.
  4. Schedule a visit with your allergy and asthma specialist. It is helpful to have your child’s lung function assessed and make sure his or her asthma is controlled prior to returning to school. At that visit, bring necessary school forms to be reviewed and signed so that your child’s rescue inhaler can be kept with him or her at all times. You can develop an asthma plan with your doctor at that time. Lastly, you can either have your child receive the flu vaccine or plan when he or she will be vaccinated.
  5. Make sure your child is taking his or her controller medications as prescribed if one has been prescribed. This could potentially help minimize asthma attacks at school and could keep your child safe. Compliance with asthma medications and the asthma plan is so important. Please ensure your child is getting the appropriate medication as prescribed.

Being very open and honest with all those who your child is surrounded by can help relieve some anxiety. Always be willing to teach others how they can best help your child.

Douglas H. Jones, MD