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Friday, July 11, 2014

Doctor's notes for students with asthma

(Shutterstock image)

I was talking with a group of moms yesterday (who all have kids with asthma.) We were talking about problems with our kids missing school because of an asthma attack or from being sick.

Every school district is a little different, but most have rules for how many days the students can be absent during each quarter. For us, students can miss 4 days per quarter.

That can be a problem if you have asthma. Some students who have asthma may not have many symptoms or may not get sick that often. Other students with asthma can miss A LOT of school. 

Son #2 missed more than 4 days per quarter (he has been hospitalized 8 times because of asthma and has been in ICU twice.) The school staff knew he had severe asthma and I would call and let them know he was sick.

But they were stuck - the district level employees asked for a "formal" excuse letter. I guess letters from parents aren't good enough (in all fairness - I'm sure schools have had problems over the years with students forging excuse notes......)

So, we had to get Asthma Doc to sign a letter saying that Son #2 has severe asthma, that it is a chronic condition, and that he would be missing more than the 4 days allowed.

It's not that he WANTED to miss school. Sometimes with asthma, it's so hard to breathe, that you just concentrate on trying to breathe in and out. You can't pay attention to math or science if you can't breathe! And Son #2 was in the school band and played the french horn. Trying blowing into a musical instrument when you can't even get enough air to breathe! And then there's gym class...

Every year, I meet with all of his teachers and let them know that he has severe asthma. I tell them what his symptoms are like (everyone is different - some people cough, some wheeze, some feel like they can't catch their breathe, etc.)  I met with his teachers all the way up through high school. How embarrassing is that????!!! Mom is going to the school to talk to your teachers??!! But they needed to know what to watch out for. After all, he was there 8 hours a day!

If your child has asthma (or diabetes, or another medical problem) find out what the rules are at your school. You may need to have your doctor write a note at the beginning of the school year that lets the staff know your student may miss more days than are "allowed."

It's just one more part of the fun life of asthma....

 

2 comments:

  1. At my university You can be absent through 2 lessons - it means, that You can be absent 2 weeks. Sometimes it is good, sometimes not. For every exacerbation I have paper from doctor, but doctors don't write why - they tell me, that there is something like "medical secrecy".
    Do Your schools honorate medical secrecy in every issue? I ask, because maybe (maybe! It isn't anything sure) in the future I will go to the US. I simply want to know from person, who lives with it :)
    Greetings from stormy and hot south Poland.

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    1. We also have medical secrecy here, it's called HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability)

      Since I am in charge of my kid's medical records, I can ask my doctor to write that my son has severe asthma and will be missing more than the allotted 4 days of school per quarter.

      That may vary from doctor to doctor in how they write the note. Most teachers may not need to know WHY you are missing school, just that you are missing school

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