If your child has asthma, the start of the new school year is about more than just making sure their backpack is stocked with fresh pencils and notebooks. Youth asthma hospitalizations peak in September, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. So you'll want to make sure your child has everything they need to breathe easy when they head to class. Here are four things every parent should add to their to-do list.
1. Get back on a medication schedule ASAP. If a laid-back summer days meant your child got off track with taking prescription medications, help them get back into a regular routine. Taking asthma medicine daily—even when a person is feeling fine—is key for managing the condition and keeping flare-ups at bay. Unsure about when your child should be taking their medication? The pediatrician can offer guidance.
2. Review your Asthma Action Plan. Your child's school should have a written plan covering what medications your child needs, how to recognize when her symptoms are worsening, and what to do in an emergency. Look over your plan at home with your child and make sure that teachers have a copy. If your child has exercise-induced asthma and the pediatrician recommends pre-treatment before exercise, see that P.E. teachers or coaches are in the loop too.
3. Check your paperwork. Most schools require parents to complete an authorization form before a child can carry an asthma inhaler in school. Even if you signed a form last year, confirm whether you need to fill out any paperwork before the new academic year kicks off.
4. Go over good hygiene habits. Colds and infections can trigger asthma symptoms. Together with your child, review the simple steps they can take to reduce exposure to illness-causing germs: Encourage them to wash their hands regularly, avoid touching their eyes, nose or mouth, and avoid sharing their inhaler with others. Ask the pediatrician whether your child should get her annual flu shot before school starts, too.
September can be a challenging for families dealing with asthma. Prepping ahead of time can protect your child's health—and help them start the school year off right.