Back to School Asthma Checklist

Post by Dan Wilson, RRT, CPFT, AEC

School is back in session and parents are making sure their children are getting back into the swing of the school season.  In the rush to get school supplies together and checking the bus schedule, it’s easy to over look the, “Back to School Asthma Checklist”. The American Lung Association recommends the following five steps when it comes to asthma readiness and the school season.

Step 1. Learn About Asthma
Talk to your healthcare provider about how asthma affects the lungs and what can be done to keep asthma from becoming a problem. Visit the American Lung Association website at and search, “Asthma” for many free resources including online asthma educational tools for parents and educational asthma games for kids.

Step 2. Talk to the School Nurse
Visit or call the school nurse or staff member in charge of student health. Ask if there is a form that needs to be completed by your child’s healthcare provider authorizing the school nurse or staff member to give your child breathing medication if an asthma flare up happens at school. Ask about the school’s asthma emergency plan and if PE instructors, coaches and teachers are trained to recognize asthma symptoms and how to respond to an asthma emergency.

Step 3. Schedule an Asthma Check Up
Every school year should begin with a visit to your child’s healthcare provider for an asthma checkup. This checkup assures your child’s asthma is in control and that they are receiving the right amount of medicine for their asthma. It’s is also a good time to be sure your child has enough asthma medication refills for the school season.

Step 4. Develop an Asthma Action Plan
An Asthma Action Plan is a written worksheet created by your healthcare provider that helps you and the school nurse recognize if your childs asthma is OK or if it is becoming a problem. The Asthma Action Plan has written instructions about what “Action” to take if the asthma is becoming a problem. Ask your healthcare provider to give you an Asthma Action Plan during your asthma check up.

Step 5. Get a Flu Shot
The “flu” is a respiratory virus and a common asthma trigger. The best way to protect you and your child from the flu is by getting the flu shot. Also, teach your children the importance of hand washing to prevent respiratory infections.

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