Back to School Advice for Parents of Asthma Kids

  • (Updated Jule 29, 2009)

    Missed school days are one of the biggest challenges for kids with allergies/asthma and their parents. But the good news is that both allergies and asthma can be kept under control—provided you use the right combination of prevention and medication.

    This series will focus on 4 areas:

    • Protecting your child at school from allergic triggers
    • Working with the school nurse and other staff to keep your child healthy
    • Dealing with emergencies
    • Calming your child's fears (and your own) about going off to an environment you have limited control over

    So, let's get started right now with the first area...

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    Protecting Your Child From Allergic Triggers at School

    The school environment can likely be filled with all sorts of possible triggers, including common allergens such as:

    • Dust
    • Mold
    • Fumes from cleaning, new carpets, etc.
    • Pollen coming in open windows and doors
    • Animal dander from classroom pets
    • Foods

    Of course, there may be other things too. The most important thing you can do is teach your child how to avoid the things he or she is allergic to, at least as much as possible. Teach your child to wash hands frequently and avoid handling furry or feathered classroom pets.

    Food allergies, though, are probably one of the most troublesome allergic triggers. Of course, at least in theory, packing your child's lunch should help him or her avoid any food triggers. Unfortunately, kids often share and trade their lunch foods, so what you send in the lunchbox or brown bag may not be what your child ends up eating.

    Also, snacks may be given out in the classroom that contain food allergens, such as peanuts. In addition, some kids are so allergic to things like peanuts that even being near someone else eating peanuts can be dangerous.

    So, what's a parent to do? Again, educating your child should help. Don't just tell them to avoid certain foods. Teach them what will happen if they don't and what danger signs to look for. Also, tell them how to look for "invisible" food triggers by reading labels and asking questions.

    In addition, teach your child not to share food with the other kids at school. This includes both not giving his/her own food away OR accepting food from another child.

    Finally, a conversation with your child's teacher is probably in order as soon as possible. Make sure the teacher knows about your child's allergic triggers and what to do if allergy symptoms begin.


Published On: September 06, 2007