Asthma at School

Getting back to normal life is particularly important for children, who usually hate to be different and want to be just like their friends, particularly at school.

You need to talk to your child’s teacher and possibly the head teacher and explain why it is essential for your child to have access to his or her inhalers. Taking a couple of puffs before exercise is far better than being ‘off games’ or, worse, being sent home.

Sometimes asthma inhalers are used as playthings by younger children. Spraying asthma medications around is wasteful, but you can reassure the school staff that this will not harm non-asthmatic children. Often the problem can be solved by switching the child to a dry powder inhaler, which seems to be less exciting than an aerosol.

Teachers exist to get the best from your children, and they can only do this if your child is as healthy as possible. If you run into difficulties at the school, and they will not co-operate in helping to manage your child’s asthma or allowing access to inhalers, perhaps because of a policy which keeps medicines locked away, you may need to start campaigning.

Talk to the chairman of the school governors, and then be prepared to get on to the local education office. In the UK, the National Asthma Campaign has a school policy which can be adapted for your school and includes helpful advice and information for head teachers and members of a school’s teaching staff.

Your peak flow meter should help you assess when a child is fit enough to go to school. Unless your child is mixing noxious substances in the chemistry laboratory, or caring for the class hamster, he or she is likely to encounter fewer allergens in the classroom than at home.

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