school asthma program  



School Asthma Program

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Symptoms of asthma that require prompt action:

Acute symptoms require prompt action to help students resume their activities as soon as possible. Prompt action is also required to prevent an episode from becoming more serious or even life threatening. The student's asthma plan and the school's emergency plan should be easily accessible so that all staff, substitutes, volunteers, and aides know what to do.

Signs that may indicate poorly controlled asthma:

  • A persistent cough,

  • Coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath after vigorous physical activity, on a recurring basis.
  • Low level of stamina during physical activity or reluctance to participate.

Actions to Consider

  • Share observations of the symptoms with the school nurse and the student's parents or guardians. Helping students get the medical attention they need is an important way to help children become active and take control of their condition.
  • Provide students convenient access to their asthma medication.

Confusing signs: Is it an asthma episode or a need for more support?

At some times teachers and coaches may wonder if a student's reported symptoms indicate a desire for attention or a desire not to participate in an activity. At other times it may seem that students are overreacting to minimal symptoms.

It is always essential to respect the student's report of his or her own condition. If a student regularly asks to be excused from recess or avoids physical activity, a real physical problem may be present. It also may be that the student needs more assistance and support from his or her teacher and coach in order to become an active participant.

Actions to Consider

  • Talk with the student to:
    • Learn his or her concerns about asthma and activity.
    • Offer reassurance that you understand the importance of appropriate modifications or activity limits.
    • Develop a shared understanding about the conditions that require activity modifications or medications.
  • Consult with the school nurse, parent/guardian, or health care provider to find ways to ensure that the student is safe, feels safe, and is encouraged to participate actively.
  • If the student uses a peak flow meter, remind him or her to use it. This may help the student appreciate his or her asthma status and appropriate levels of activity.

Using a Metered Dose Inhaler

It is important that students take their medications correctly. Many asthma medications are delivered by metered dose inhalers, which are highly effective, but they can be difficult to use.

The school nurse or health room technician should review proper use of the inhaler with the student.
These instructions are provided for your information.

How to Use a Metered Dose Inhaler:

  1. Take off the cap. Shake the inhaler.
  2. Stand up. Breathe out.
  3. As you start to breathe in, push down on the top of the inhaler and keep breathing in slowly for 3 to 5 seconds.
  4. Hold your breath for 10 seconds. Breathe out.

Note: Dry powder capsules are used differently. To use a dry powder inhaler, close your mouth tightly around the mouthpiece and breathe in very fast.

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Symptoms That Require Prompt Action:
Signs That May Indicate Poorly Controlled Asthma:
Confusing Signs:
Using a metered dose inhaler:

Last edited 22-08-2010