When your child has asthma and allergies, back-to-school time can feel like an absolute nightmare. On top of the general stress of getting the textbooks and school clothes together, you have a whole range of additional considerations to make, like spare inhalers, Epi-Pens®, and teacher awareness.
In this blog, Ofundem Akoh-Arrey Nokuri, MD and Samuel Nokuri, MD share with you their knowledge and expertise on the school environment, and how it can affect asthma and allergies to give you a practical guide on how to protect your child and keep them safe while in their teacher’s care.
Be aware of the risk factors for asthma and allergies at your child’s school.
Studies have shown that asthma and allergies are more likely to flare up during September with an increase in emergency department and physician visits. A few contributing factors for this include:
- Back-to-school anxiety tightening the airways and reducing resistance
- Increase in sports activity and physical exercise from school classes
- Higher amounts of ragweed pollen and mold in the air at this time of year
- Seasonal changes causing temperature fluctuations
- Indoor allergens found in the classroom environment, like dust mites
- Crowded classrooms enabling germs and bacteria to spread easily
- Other children being unaware of your child’s allergies and how they may trigger them
Having a full and frank conversation with your child’s teacher and the school administration about their asthma and allergies can be useful in putting together a risk evaluation and ensuring the school is doing everything they can to reduce and mitigate the risk.
Book in for a back-to-school check-up before the start of the term.
It’s easy to become complacent over the school holidays when the effects of asthma aren’t so obvious and the need for medication is reduced, but it is essential for your child to have regular check-ups with their asthma and allergy specialist. These can determine how well the asthma is controlled, whether any new allergens may be triggering the condition, and that your child knows how to use their medication to prevent an attack.
Most schools require an individualized action plan from your specialist to keep on file that highlights preventive measures and what they should do if your child has an asthma attack. It’s vital that this is comprehensive and includes all symptoms of your child’s asthma and/or allergies, what triggers them and how to reduce the risk, and how to treat an attack with an inhaler or epinephrine shot.
Make sure your child is aware of their condition and how to treat it.
Self-care is key to successfully managing asthma and reducing the risk of allergens triggering an attack. Having an open conversation with your child about their asthma will help them feel more in control and prepared for a flare-up if it should happen.
When your child feels knowledgeable about their condition, they’re better able to discuss it with their friends, teachers, and other school staff, particularly how it affects them and the signs to look out for that an attack is imminent. This can be critical when children get older and gain more independence within the school environment.
Give your medicine cabinet a good clear-out.
Look out for any expired medication or those close to expiring, so you can restock them and ensure that your child has everything they need to control their asthma. This is particularly important for those seldom-used items like the epinephrine shot or bronchodilator inhaler that are kept on standby.
This is also an excellent opportunity to ensure that the medication is being taken as prescribed and to monitor how often the quick-relief bronchodilator is being used. If it’s being used more than twice a week, that’s a good indicator that the asthma isn’t well-controlled and further treatment might be necessary.
Now’s the perfect time to schedule an asthma and allergy review with us at Premier Health Express Urgent Care, so get in touch with us today by completing the simple online form to book an appointment for your child.