Add Asthma, Allergy Plans to Your Back-to-School List

SATURDAY, Aug. 1, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- If your child has asthma or allergies, make sure his or her teacher, principal and school nurse know about it as part of your back-to-school planning, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) recommends.

"More than 10 million kids under age 18 have asthma, and one in four suffer from respiratory allergies," ACAAI President Dr. James Sublett said in a news release from the organization.

"Many kids with asthma and food allergies don't have a plan in place at school. An allergy or asthma action plan doesn't do any good if it's not shared with the people who can act on it," he noted.

The first step is to have allergy/asthma control measures at home, such as lowering exposure to triggers and taking prescribed medications. At school, it's important for teachers to know your child's asthma and allergy triggers so that they can help the youngster avoid them in the classroom.

Parents should talk to principals and school nurses about how to handle allergy/asthma emergencies. All 50 states have laws that protect students' rights to carry and use medicines for asthma and severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) at school.

Children at risk for life-threatening allergic reactions from certain foods or insect stings should carry epinephrine auto-injectors and have them available for immediate use, the ACAAI said.

Children with asthma and allergies should be able to take part in any school sport as long as they follow their doctor's advice. Parents should ensure their child's gym teacher and coaches know what to do in case of an asthma emergency.

Many children with food allergies are able to identify what they can and can't eat, but it's helpful if other parents and your child's friends know, too. Some schools have policies restricting treats for special occasions. If your child's school does not, be sure to tell other parents and children what types of foods your child must avoid.

More information

The American Lung Association has more about childhood asthma.

SOURCE: American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, news release, July 14, 2015

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