Back to School with Asthma requires Planning

Flu shots for asthmatic children is a good action plan

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) It's back-to-school time, when kids and their parents shop for new clothes, check off the school supply list, and get ready for the new year.

For children with asthma, a new school year means bigger concerns that must be addressed before classes start: managing their health in the classroom. Germs and illnesses are easily spread around schools, and kids with asthma are particularly susceptible to the flu.

"Create an action plan and get flu shots for your kids with asthma."

The American Lung Association issued a release strongly recommending that all children, but especially those with asthma, be immunized against influenza and H1N1 before school begins. Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association, reassures,

“The good news is that research has shown conclusively that getting a flu shot does not trigger an asthma attack." reassures Dr. Norman H. Edelman, chief medical officer of the American Lung Association.

Asthma affects about seven million children under age 18 in the U.S. and accounts for more than 14 million lost school days each year, as children with asthma face challenges not experienced by their non-asthmatic peers. Edelman suggests that parents of asthmatic children develop a comprehensive action plan for the new school year to control asthma, working with their healthcare providers and schools.

The American Lung Association recommends the following Back-to-School Checklist:

  • Develop an action plan. This should detail personal information about the child’s asthma symptoms, medications, any medicine required before exercise and provides specific instructions about what to do if an asthma episode does not improve with prescribed medication.
  • Get a check-up. Even if your child’s asthma is well managed, Asthma Action Plans should be updated and evaluated with your doctor each year.
  • Visit the school nurse and teachers. Discuss your child’s triggers and symptoms so that they can be prepared to assist should an asthma episode occur.
  • Know your school’s emergency plan. Make sure the school knows how to reach you, or other approved guardians, in case of emergency. Find out if school staff have received asthma training.
  • Advocate for your child. Students have the legal right to carry asthma medications while at school. Make sure you have completed any required paperwork for medicine at your school.
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 30, 2011
Last Updated:
August 1, 2011