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Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Asthma in schools

Asthma affects nearly five million children in the U.S. and is the leading cause of school absences, resulting in a loss of 10 million school days per year.

Many children must manage their asthma at school with medications or other preventive measures, such as inhalers. Twenty-three states have laws that require schools to allow children to carry inhalers and 11 of those states permit children to carry anaphylaxis medication. In the other states, schools must establish their own medication policies.

Schools can also take these steps to create an asthma friendly environment:

be smoke free during the school day and at after school events
maintain good air quality in the school and reduce or eliminate allergens and asthma triggers, such as class pets like hamsters and art supplies that release fumes
have a school nurse on duty every day
have an emergency plan for handling severe asthma attacks in all areas, from the cafeteria to the school bus
educate school staff and students about asthma
ensure that students with asthma have safe options for participating in physical education classes