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Back to School with Asthma

Did you know that asthma is one of the most common chronic childhood disorders in the nation, affecting an estimated seven million children under the age of 18? Or that asthma is also a leading cause of school absenteeism due to chronic illness, accounting for more than 14 million missed school days each year?

With the school year just getting started, the American Lung Association urges parents who have children with asthma to complete the following checklist:

Step 1 – Learn about Asthma

  • Visit Lung.org/asthma to learn about asthma and asthma management.

  • Visit Lungtropolis along with your 5- to 10-year-old child. You'll find action-packed games designed to help kids control their asthma.

Step 2 – Talk to the School Nurse

A visit or phone call to the school nurse should be your next step. You and the school nurse, along with your child's healthcare provider, can work to reduce asthma triggers and manage symptoms while in school.

Step 3 - Schedule Asthma Check-Up

Each school year should begin with a visit to your child's healthcare provider for an asthma check-up. This check-up is the best time to make sure your child is on the right amount of medicine, to fill out any forms required by the school, and to create an asthma action plan.

Step 4 - Develop an Asthma Action Plan

An asthma action plan is a written worksheet created by your healthcare provider and tailored to your child's needs. The plan includes a list of their asthma triggers and symptoms, the names of their medicines and how much medicine to take when needed. An asthma action plan should always be on file in the school nurse's office and easily accessible to anyone who may need to help your child use their inhaler.

Step 5 – Get a Flu Shot

On average, one out of five Americans suffers from influenza (flu) every year. Respiratory infections such as the flu are one of the most common asthma triggers. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommends that everyone over the age of six months get a flu vaccination.

For additional information on asthma and children, including a downloadable version of this checklist with more details, visit Lung.org/asthma or call the Lung HelpLine: 1-800-LUNG-USA.

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