Addressing Pediatric Asthma and Allergies in School Settings

A child at school coughing while walking to class.

In the United States, there are about 5.5 million children who have asthma, while one in five children has seasonal allergy issues, and 5.5 million have food allergies. These health conditions are challenging at all times, but they can be even more so when your child gets ready to go to school.

To help address the issues that can arise in school settings, helping to prepare your child, as well as teachers and administrators, is essential. Taking some steps as part of a yearly back-to-school routine can help your child stay safe in school settings if they have asthma or suffer from allergies.

Reach Out to Your Child’s School

You and your child’s school both have the same goal — to offer your child the kind of education they deserve in a safe environment. Communicating effectively with your child’s school can help ensure the right steps are taken to prevent asthma and allergy triggers.

You must first communicate with the school in writing and ask for an in-person meeting. You should explain clearly what illnesses your child struggles with to give everyone the right information.

Plan Ahead

Don’t leave planning for the new school year to the last minute. In fact, it can help to begin planning in the spring so that everything can be ready for fall. If your child will need special accommodations, start as early as possible to give the school time to make the necessary arrangements.

Speak with the school in the spring and get all of the necessary paperwork so that you can fill it all out before the new school year starts. Over the summer break, meet with your child’s pediatric pulmonologist so that all the official paperwork is in place and to ensure you get all prescription refills.

If you’ve given medications to the school to have in case of emergencies, pick up any unused medicines at the end of the year and check expiration dates.

Put Together a School Health Care Plan

Pediatric pulmonologists recommend that every child who has asthma or any kind of allergies have a school health care plan. This kind of plan lists the common signs your child can display if they’re dealing with a health emergency. It should also explain what medicines your child takes and what to do if an emergency arises.

Most student healthcare plans require your collaboration with the school and your child’s pediatric pulmonologist or another healthcare provider. It’s important to have the school nurse involved since they’re the person in charge of dealing with medical emergencies of any kind.

When you get together with the school, speak about your child’s allergens and triggers, as well as their asthma or anaphylaxis action plan.

You also need to ask the school for their action plan if they notice your child is dealing with asthma or allergy symptoms. You want to enquire where the epinephrine or emergency asthma medication will be kept, as well as if the school provides staff training for allergies or asthma.

Control Asthma or Allergy Symptoms Before School Starts

You must take steps to prevent attacks while school is in session. If you notice your child is dealing with these kinds of issues, you need to turn to a pediatric pulmonologist and speak to them about how to get allergies or asthma symptoms under control.

One of the steps you may want to take is to provide age-appropriate vaccines for flu, COVID-19, and other respiratory illnesses.

Some medications can also help prevent future asthma or allergy attacks, so speak with the pulmonologist to see if your child can benefit from these.

Teach Your Child How to Manage Their Condition

You need to help your child understand their condition and develop age-appropriate skills to help them manage it wherever they are.

It’s essential that your child understands how and when to use their medications as well as how to recognize the first symptoms of an asthma attack or allergic reaction. Along with this, they need to learn how to communicate with adults about the symptoms they’re experiencing.

If your child has food allergies and is old enough to read, it’s essential to teach them to read food labels before eating anything.

You always want to ask your pediatrician whether your child is old enough to carry medications in school since this can make a huge difference.

Transitioning to a New School

It can be particularly challenging when your child transitions to a new school because it means taking the time to speak with all of the people in charge about the medical conditions your child has.

Every time your child changes schools, whether moving from one grade to another or going to another school system because of relocation, you’ll want to assess the health care plan.

Every school has different guidelines and ways of dealing with allergies and asthma, so you need to work closely with those in charge to ensure your plan is up to date.

Helping Your Child Have a Positive and Safe School Experience

A child who struggles with allergies or asthma can be stressed or worried about starting a new school year. To ensure they have the support they need throughout their school day, you need to work with your child’s school as well as your trusted pediatric pulmonologist.

At Newport Children’s Medical Group, we help families manage the challenges a new school year can bring for a child with respiratory or allergy issues.
With the right pediatric pulmonologist ready to assess your child and provide a treatment plan that addresses their unique challenges, you can worry a little less, knowing your child will receive the ongoing care they need.

Contact us at Newport Children’s Medical Group to speak with our specialists about the many services we offer.