3 Ways To Help Your Child Control Allergy-Induced Asthma Attacks At School

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For children who have allergies and asthma, school can be a frequent source of asthma attacks. Children are exposed to numerous allergens while they're at school, and these allergens may not be commonly found in your home. For example, students who own pets can carry animal dander with them on their clothes when they arrive in the morning, causing asthma in children for whom animal dander is a trigger. Schools sometimes have poor indoor air quality, which can be another trigger for asthma—this is particularly common in the winter when all of the windows are shut and the school's heating system is turned on for the first time in the school year.

If your child's asthma attacks are caused by exposure to allergens, read on to learn three ways to ensure safety at school and help him or her focus on studying rather than worrying about having a potentially severe asthma attack.

1. Make Sure Your School Knows About Your Child's Allergies and Asthma

In order to create a safe environment for your child, the school needs to know that your child suffers from allergies and asthma. Most schools will require documentation from your child's allergist in order to verify that your child has asthma. Call the school and ask for a copy of the forms you'll need to fill out.

While talking to your child's school, you should also ask about their emergency action plan for allergic reactions or asthma attacks. Some schools require epinephrine auto-injectors and rescue inhalers to be kept safe by adults such as your child's teacher or the school nurse, while other schools allow children to carry their own rescue devices.

If your child is allowed to carry his or her own medication, you should also ask if the school has extra epinephrine auto-injectors and rescue inhalers in the school clinic available for your child to use if he or she forgets to take them to school. If they don't have extras available, consider talking to the school board and asking them to change their policy—having spare rescue medication available in the school clinic can save lives in the event of a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack.

2. Regularly Work With Your Child's Allergist to Improve Asthma Control

Schedule an appointment with your child's allergist. You'll need to fill out the documentation that the school requires in order to verify your child's allergies and asthma diagnosis. This visit also gives you an opportunity to ensure that your child's medication is up to date and that the dosages are correct for your child's age and weight. You should speak to your child's allergist before each school year begins in order to adjust dosages and ensure that your child is on the right medication regimen to control his or her allergies and asthma.

3. Personally Inform Teachers About Your Child's Specific Allergies

If you've done a skin prick test with your child's allergist and know which allergens trigger your child's asthma attacks, share this information with all of his or her teachers. It's especially important to share this information with your child's physical education teacher if your child has outdoor allergies. When teachers know about your child's allergies, they can work around them—for example, physical education teachers can devise alternate indoor activities during ragweed or pollen season if these are triggers for your child's asthma.

While schools are a source of frequent allergen exposure, you can reduce the effect that it has on your child's schoolwork by working closely with your allergy care service to better control your child's asthma.