It's Time to Create an Asthma Action Plan for School

John Bottrell Health Pro
  • I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Jane Gallant. She's the asthma mom who does everything right when it comes to her 5-year-old daughter Jessie's asthma. She's likes to be proactive and prevent.

    Jane remembers her grandma saying something like, "It's important to be proactive. If you're proactive you prevent something bad from happening. If you wait until something happens before you respond, you're being reactive. If you're reacting, it means something bad already happened. It's too late to stop it. So it's better to be proactive."

    So when it came to Jessie's asthma Jane was definitely proactive. She spends a lot of time right here on this site, and she reads books, and she makes sure to take Jessie to her pediatrician at least once a year.

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    She also makes sure to assist her daughter in taking her medications, and makes sure she takes them every day, especially when Jessie is feeling well. Jane has also worked with Jessie's pediatrician in creating a good asthma action plan.

    Her doctor mentioned something about working with Jessie's teacher and principal on creating an asthma action plan for school. So, reminded by the daily onslaught of back-to-school ads, she's decided there's no better time than right now. She set up a meeting with the principal, and asked that Jessie's teacher and gym teacher are all present.

    Jane knows Jessie's early warning signs of asthma, and what to do when she observes them. And she wants to make sure Jessie's gets the same good care at school that she would get at home. So she plans on creating a list of Jessie's early warning signs and making sure anyone who cares for Jessie (like her teachers) knows what they are, and also what to do.

    She especially wants to make sure her child is able to participate in gym class, as it's important for everyone, especially asthmatics, to stay physically active. Exercise has many advantages, including making your heart and lungs stronger.

    The gym teacher will need to be taught how to pre-treat Jessie before exercise, and to be especially vigilant regarding Jessie's early warning signs. Jessie needs to exercise, yet there may be days when she may need to take it easy. It's important for the gym teacher to know when to encourage Jessie to exercise, and when to encourage her to take it easy, or when to stop.

    Jessie learned through her many readings it's very important for those responsible for her daughter at school need to be on the same page as Jane and Jill's doctor. This will allow for Jessie to get the best asthma care.

    That's why she's created an asthma action plan for school. She also purchased from her pharmacy an extra Ventolin inhaler and plans on giving it to the principal to keep in his office just in case Jessie forgets her own inhaler and needs it.

    Likewise, Jessie will have to make sure she tells the teacher when Jessie is using her inhaler a lot, because sometimes hyperactivity can be a side effect of using lots of this medicine. Likewise, the principal will have to call Jane when Jessie needs her inhaler at school. Good communication is essential.

  • National Jewish Health's "Back to school health tips, notes that if your child misses school, or assignments, the teacher will have to be helpful and patient in helping and encouraging Jessie to get caught up so she doesn't get behind. A plan needs to be in place just in case.

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    Likewise, if Jessie has been having trouble breathing, and perhaps up late, she "may be tired and have difficulty concentrating the next day at school," National Jewish notes. So this is yet another instance where good communication is a must.

    Although some hospitals don't allow kids to carry their own medicine, so she needs to make sure she knows what the policy at Jessie's school is. That's part of the goal for this meeting.

    She also bought an extra peak flow meter that she will keep with the inhaler. In fact, she's decided to buy a small box and put the list of early warning signs, the asthma action plan, the Ventolin inhaler, and the peak flow meter in it. This will be Jessie's asthma emergency box for school.

    It's important she's being proactive, because asthma is a very treatable disease. With good care, asthma attacks can be prevented, or at least nipped in the bud.
    So if you're responsible for a little asthmatic, be it as a mom, a parent, guardian, teacher, or even a grandparent, are you proactive like Jane Gallant? Are you a gallant asthma mom or dad?


    If so, right now's the time to start thinking about creating an asthma action plan for school.  

Published On: October 04, 2010