Back to School Tips for Kids with Asthma

One of the leading causes of absenteeism for children is asthma. As more and more children are diagnosed with asthma, school attendance will continue to suffer if parents don’t intervene. Your child deserves to have the chance to do well in school, regardless of breathing difficulties. Although you likely already have medication prepared for your child, there are simple practices that you can implement to ensure that your child has a happy, safe return to school with minimal flare-ups.

Most parents keep their children at home when they have a flare-up, when the mucus buildup in the bronchial tubes blocks air from getting in. However, it might be the home that is causing the buildup in the first place. The process to a flare-up may take weeks of small triggers causing the airways to produce blockages in an overactive response to the environment. These small reactions are actual imperceptible, so what may seem like a sudden episode is the result of weeks of small, unnoticed episodes.

To predict and prevent asthma episodes, your doctor may offer a peak flow meter, a device that measures how well your child is breathing. Ask your healthcare provider about getting one, as they are invaluable for measuring how close your child is to an asthma attack. When you know your child is close to an asthma attack, you can give them medication to prevent an attack instead of responding to it. As a result, your child will be able to attend school safely and confidently, and you will have peace of mind.

In addition to a peak flow meter, you need to ensure that your home is clear of all triggers.

The vital thing is to clean your home often, clearing it of all dust, dust mites, and dirt that might trigger an asthmatic reaction. Ensure that you are removing dust from the home (with wet cleaning materials) rather than simply moving the dust off of surfaces. Moving the dust may make it worse, as unsettled dust is far easier to breathe in accidentally.

If you smoke, quit smoking as soon as possible. Asthma responds violently to secondhand smoke, so your child is at risk for frequent episodes if there is tobacco smoke in the home. Smoke can also begin to absorb into the carpet and furniture, leaving pollutants there for months. Consider cleaning your carpets and furniture as well, if feasible.

In order to ensure a fun return to school for your child, the key to any medication or program is prevention. A home that is free of triggers, with regular readings of your child’s breathing abilities, allows you to keep attacks from happening. Your child will be far more healthy and confident in the long-term as their asthma becomes far more manageable.

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.