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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Managing asthma

Asthma affects over five million school-aged children in the United States – about one out of every 11 students. This chronic lung disease often causes unnecessary restriction of activities and is a leading cause of school absenteeism. Asthma is controllable and with proper treatment and support children with asthma can develop healthy lifestyles and lead fully active school lives.

The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program believes that schools should adopt policies for the management of asthma that ensure student safety, encourage the active participation of students in the self-management of their condition and allow for the most consistent, active participation in all school activities.

Policies should address the following essential activities:
· A smoke-free environment for all school activities.
· A written medication policy that allows safe, reliable and immediate access to medications. Policies are encouraged that allow students to carry and self-administer quick-relief medication whenever possible.
· A school-wide emergency plan for handling asthma episodes.
· Professional development for all school personnel on school medication policies and emergency procedures
· School health services should include:
· Identifying, assessing and monitoring of students with asthma
· Obtaining or constructing written asthma action plan for each student with asthma, updated at least annually
· Ensuring emergency care including a quick-relief inhaler and spacer/holding chamber
· Providing nurse supervision to document and report on the administration of medication to the parent/guardian and/or health care clinician