With good asthma control, your child should not generally miss school or daycare and should be able to fully participate in activities such as sports.
Regular, clear communication with the school and daycare can help your child maintain good asthma control. Meet with your child’s teachers or daycare staff each September and do the following:
- Provide a copy of your child’s Asthma Action Plan and explain what it means
- List and explain your child’s asthma triggers and why it’s important to avoid them. Some common triggers in the classroom and daycare include animals, dust, mould and strong smells.
- Show teachers or daycare staff your child’s asthma medications and how to use them properly – make sure they are well labeled.
- Make sure the teachers or daycare staff know which inhaler is the reliever medication that helps in an asthma emergency (usually a blue inhaler).
- Once a student is old enough, they should be able to carry asthma medications with them at all times.
- Plan for field trips well in advance, to make sure your child will not be exposed to their asthma triggers and they will have fast access to their emergency inhalers and any needed medical care.
- Make sure your child’s teachers or daycare staff know what to do in an emergency and whom to contact.
Teachers and daycare staff
Teachers and daycare staff can do a lot to help children maintain good asthma control. There are many things that can be done to help a student with asthma:
- Ask for a copy of the child’s Asthma Action Plan.
- Meet with the child’s parents and have them go over their child’s asthma action plan with you. Discuss any questions you might have with the parents.
- Ask parents about their child’s asthma triggers – each person with asthma has their own set of triggers. As much as possible, remove asthma triggers from your classroom. Some possible triggers in the classroom or daycare include animals, dust, mould and strong smells.
- Learn about their asthma medications – what they do and what they’re for. Learn the difference between a reliever medication (usually in a blue puffer- taken during asthma attacks or before exercise) and a controller medication (usually taken at home every day to control symptoms, but WON’T help in an asthma attack).
- If needed at school or daycare, remind them to take their medications as scheduled
- Talk to your class and staff about asthma so they understand it better
- Know what to do in an asthma emergency and who to call
Warning signs of uncontrolled asthma
As a teacher or daycare staff with regular exposure to children with asthma, you may notice the early warning signs that asthma is getting out of control in a child. Common warning signs that a child’s asthma may be worsening include:
- Short of breath (especially during exercise)
- Regular cough
- Child is tired because of disturbed sleep from their asthma
- Trouble exercising or seems reluctant to participate in physical activities
- Needs to use their reliever inhaler (usually a blue inhaler) more than three times a week
Take note of these symptoms and report them to the child’s parents right away. By keeping track of the students’ symptoms and reporting them, you can help prevent symptoms from getting worse and reduce the risk of an asthma attack.