As kids head off in a few weeks back to school (where did the summer go?) those parents with children who have allergies, food allergies and asthma have some extra steps to consider.
• Will the staff know what an allergic reaction looks like?
• Will medication be on hand or readily available?
• Will anyone know how to administer if my child is too young to self-administer?
• Will there be asthmatic or allergic irritants in my child's learning environment?
• What is the quality of the air in my child's school?
• Will the school allow my child to carry and administer their own medication when needed?
• Is there an emergency protocol in place in case some has an asthma attack or an anaphylactic allergic reaction?
• How many nurses are available to the students?
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America released a new national report outlining which states have the most laws in place to help protect your allergic and asthmatic little ones at school.
"Asthma and allergies have a major effect on schools and student performance," according to Mary Brasler, EdD, MSN, AAFA's Director of Programs and Services, "so it's important to see which states are making strides to address these issues."
"When we recognize high-performing states, it shows everyone in the asthma and allergy community that progress can be made. It also gives people in other states the confidence to push for similar progress in their schools."
The 2008 Honor Roll states are: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.
Regardless of state requirements to address important asthma and allergy issues for your children at school, there are some things you can do right now to prepare your children. AAFA outlines several basic steps to take for your child to ensure their safety at school.
* Be sure your child's medical information is complete, up-to date, and in a form that is easily understood by the school staff.
* Hand in a Child Asthma/Allergy Action Cards which lists daily medications, triggers that can set off an attack, symptoms and emergency plans.
* Attach your child's name and the dosage to all of his or her medication.
* Set up appointments to meet with the school nurse, your child's teachers (including the physical education teacher) and even the principal at a time when the school staff is not too busy.
* If your child has food allergies, speak to the cafeteria staff about food choices or special accommodations. Be clear and concise about the seriousness of the allergy, what your child is allergic to, and what can be done to ensure safety. It may help the staff if a picture of your child is posted in the kitchen.
* Speak to your own children about their responsibility to take medications, not take food from other kids and other important information about their own conditions. Even at an early age, it is critical that your children begin to identify allergy and asthma symptoms and learn to ask for help. Explain that they have to take action immediately because the symptoms probably won't go away.
Published On: August 15, 2008