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Friday, August 23, 2013

Do your kids know what to do?

(Shutterstock image)

Now that the kids are back in school, can you relax? Well, maybe!
The house might be a little quieter :)

But do you worry about your kids having an asthma attack at school? I know I always do!
Would they know what to do if they were having breathing problems?
In our county, the nurse/students ratio is VERY high, it's 1 nurse for every 5,900 students. Yep, you read that right! Each school nurse has between 5-8 schools. So chances are, the school nurse won't be there when my kids have an asthma attack. It's not like I can tell my daughter, "If you are going to have an asthma attack, you can have one between 8-11 on Monday morning, 
because that's when the school nurse is there!!" If only asthma were that easy.....

So how do you know if your kids can handle an asthma attack at school? I would usually help my kids at home. I make sure they use their inhaler correctly, know when to use it, etc. But what happens when they are at school? It can make me a little nervous. 

American Lung Association has a FREE program called "Open Airways for Schools."  It's a six week program where trained instructors come into the school for 40 minutes once a week. They teach the kids how to manage their asthma in a fun, interactive way. They make it exciting for the kids by using role play, games, group discussion and stories.

The kids learn how about:
asthma basics
learning how to recognize and manage asthma symptoms   
taking medication correctly
avoiding asthma triggers
keeping up in school
getting exercise

The thing I like best about it? The kids have "homework" that comes home to parents. YOU get to learn about everything THEY learned about that day! And they don't feel like the only weird kid in the class that has that "little squirty breathing thing." They get to meet other kids in the school who have asthma and inhalers and it makes them feel like they are not alone :)

It's a great program, and the proof is in the pudding. American Lung Association has the results of the study to show how much it helps the kids. Open Airways for Schools was started over 10 years ago, and the kids who take the class have:

fewer and less severe asthma attacks 
took more steps to take care of their asthma
did better in school 

That sounds like a win/win situation!  Check with your state to see what you need to do to get the program into your school. I volunteer with our state chapter, so I was trained to teach the course. I taught it several years in daughter Kitty's school. It was so much fun! And it was good to see the kids feel more in control of their asthma and feel support from the other kids who have asthma.

And now I feel like Kitty knows what to do if she has an asthma attack at school and the school nurse isn't there. A little peace of mind for a frazzled mom! Ahhhhh. 


  1. There should be a close attention and awareness to the children who all are suffering from asthma. Very important topic and you just did an amazing job presenting it in a simple and clear manner. Asthma Herbal Medicine

  2. Hi Stacey,

    Thanks for stopping by! I hope by sharing what I know, it will help other parents take care of their kid's asthma!

    Have a great week! :)