As children across the state start a new school year, the American Lung Association encourages parents and guardians to consider alternative back-to-school preparations in addition to purchasing pencils and notebooks. These plans include ensuring that their children with asthma have the precautions in place to safeguard their health throughout the new school year. Each year, 100,371 S.C. children with asthma head back to school and an estimated 14.4 million school days nationwide are missed due to asthma-related illness.
It is important to take the proper steps to promote and protect the health of our children with asthma in all settings, including their schools, and we are proud to offer programs and life-saving guidance that address their special health care needs.
While S.C. students are allowed by law to carry asthma inhalers with them throughout the school day, all students with asthma should have a written Asthma Action Plan detailing personal information about the child's asthma symptoms, medications, any physical activity limitations, and specific instructions about what to do if an asthma attack does not improve with medication. All of the student's teachers, coaches, the school nurse and the administrative office should have an updated Asthma Action Plan for the student. It is vital that those who provide care for them at home and at school are well-informed on how to handle their condition.
The back to school season is a busy time for everyone, but taking a moment to ensure your child's safety is critical. Promote the health of those living with asthma by knowing your role and what you can do to guarantee that children with asthma stay healthy, in school and ready to learn.
For more tips about asthma, to get an Asthma Action Plan or to learn about the various asthma programs in your area, visit www.lungfla.org or call 1-800-LUNG-USA.
The writer is president and chief executive of the American Lung Association of the Southeast.