School Asthma and Allergy Basics
School children with asthma and food and venom allergy face uncertainty and challenges not experienced by most classmates. The average classroom, lunch room, playground, class party and athletic field is teeming with allergens capable of provoking asthma or allergy symptoms that students with these conditions must prevent and treat with vigilance and balance.
I encourage all parents to make sure their child’s emergency care plans are completed on time and accurately. They should be given to school nurses or administrators before the school year begins.
“We want all school children, including those with asthma and anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction, to have full access to every academic and social opportunity available. It takes planning and good communication between the school and health care provider,” says Sally Schoessler, RN, BSN, MSEd, Director of Nursing Education at the National Association of School Nurses.
- Anaphylaxis or Asthma Action Plan: Spells out what symptoms to watch for, how to treat them and when to call for help. Make copies for school and backpack.
- Backpack medications include a bronchodilator (albuterol or levalbuterol) inhaler for asthma and two epinephrine auto-injectors for anaphylaxis: Up-to-date supplies of these life-saving medications for backpack and school clinic.
- Completed and signed school health forms: Include emergency contact info and permission to carry and self-administer asthma or anaphylaxis medication. Epinephrine, not antihistamines, is always the first line of treatment for anaphylaxis.
- Develop students’ self-confidence by helping them understand what sets off their symptoms and how best to protect themselves, and ask for help.
- Emergency training for school staff, bus drivers and after-school day care: Anaphylaxis Community Experts (ACE) Teams across the country bring FREE presentations to schools or community groups. Visit www.aanma.org/AnaphylaxisCommunityExperts to find out about this award-winning program, a joint project of AANMA and the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (ACAAI).• Find out more with the fall back-to-school issue of Allergy & Asthma Today – AANMA’s quarterly magazine, free to all AANMA members. Call 800-878-4403 to join today!
About Mommy MD Guide Sigrid Payne DaVeiga, MD: Dr. DaVeiga is an Allergist at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She sees patients at the CHOP Subspecialty Care Center in Exton, Pennsylvania. She received her BS/BA in Biochemistry and English at Georgetown University. She completed her MD at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. She completed her internship, residency and was Chief Resident of Pediatrics at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She completed her Fellowship training in Allergy and Immunology at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She has spoken about allergic conditions on a local and national level and has published multiple publications in peer reviewed Allergy journals, including the Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and Allergy and Asthma Proceedings. She is an active member of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She is also a MommyMDGuide at www.MommyMDGuides.com