5 Things To Do If Your School-Aged Child Has Asthma
With the mad rush to get the kids back to school with the right books and uniform, there’s a really important checklist you may have forgotten to work through – the Back To School Checklist For Kids With Asthma.
Back to school can mean a higher risk of flare-ups for kids with asthma, for a couple of reasons. Over the holidays we may have taken a bit more of a relaxed approach to the kids’ asthma management, and being around their classmates makes our children more vulnerable to triggers like respiratory viruses¹.
February is actually the peak for asthma hospitalisations among children, but 80% of parents of school-aged children have never heard of back to school asthma.
That’s why every parent with a school-aged child with asthma is being encouraged to work their way through this important, five-step checklist.
1. Book an asthma review
An asthma check-in with your child’s doctor at the top of the list. It’s a chance to go through anything that’s changed over the summer break, or any symptoms you’ve noticed. You’ll also be able to go through your child’s medications, get an updated prescription, discuss their triggers and put together or update your child’s comprehensive management plan. This will include their Asthma Action Plan.
2. Update your child’s Asthma Action Plan
This can be done as part of your doctor’s appointment (two checklist points ticked off in one go!). You child’s school and outside-school-hours-care need this current action plan to ensure they can care for your child. You can print off this Asthma Action Plan and take it with you, make sure you make a copy for yourself as well.
3. Contact your child’s school
Whether your child is at the same school they’ve been for years, or starting fresh, it’s vital to go over their medicine policy, as this can change from year to year. Also have a chat to your child’s classroom teacher and the school nurse and make sure they have seen your child’s Asthma Action Plan and they know your child’s triggers, symptoms and medicine.
If your child plays sport outside of school, it’s also the perfect time to touch base with their coach to make sure they’re aware of your child’s Asthma Action Plan.
4. Check your child’s reliever
The expiry date and dose counter should be checked on your child’s relievers that are kept at home, and those taken to school. Also make sure you have any other devices you need for school like a spacer and mask, and get the pharmacist to label your child’s medicine with their name.
5. Keep the school updated
Sometimes things change with children’s asthma management, and it’s important to make sure the school is kept up to date. If your child’s Asthma Action plan is updated throughout the year, make sure the school has a copy. And if your child has an asthma event at school, make sure you’re thoroughly briefed by the school so you know exactly what happened, and then visit your doctor as soon as possible.
¹Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017. Health Service Usage and Health Related Actions, Australia, 2014-15. Table 7: Asthma: Actions and medications taken. Canberra: ABS. https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4364.0.55.0022014-15?OpenDocument
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