• 10 Back-to-School Tips for Children With Allergies or Asthma

    on Aug 16th, 2018

Up to 40% of school-age children have seasonal allergies, causing them to miss school or have an unproductive day at school. As a parent, you want your child to feel good and not miss any classes or school activities due to allergies or asthma.

These 10 tips can help your child manage their symptoms and avoid triggers to have a healthy, successful school year.

1.    Ask the school to help out

On high-pollen days, ask the teachers and staff to keep windows closed to prevent your child from exposure to allergens. Ask if tasks that stir up allergens, such as lawn mowing, can happen during nonschool hours.

2.    Stay away from chalk

Children with allergies and asthma should request to sit far away from the chalkboard. If they’re asked to solve a problem on the board, instruct them to request to wash their hands immediately after handling the chalk and erasers.

3.    Manage food issues

If your child has food allergies, pack their lunch and teach them not to share utensils, napkins, and plates. Many schools have special tables and classrooms that exclude any common food allergy triggers, such as peanuts. Ask the staff about these and how your child can take advantage of them.

4.    Avoid insects

If your child is allergic to bee stings or other insects, teach them safe practices. Remind them to avoid disturbing the critters. Also, they should not wear brightly colored clothing on the playground, as this attracts bees and wasps. Inform the school nurse about your child’s allergy and provide them with epinephrine to be used if your child is stung.

5.    Have a plan

In the case of severe allergic reactions, your child needs immediate attention. If your child suffers from a life-threatening allergy that may cause anaphylaxis, make sure that teachers, the school nurse, administrators, and even substitute teachers know what to do in case your child has a reaction.

6.    Find out where medications are stored

You and your child should know where the medications that help with allergies are stored during school time. Most likely the school nurse may store and administer them, or in some cases they may be kept close at hand in your child’s classroom.

Be sure to supply the school with your child’s antihistamines, epinephrine pens, or nasal sprays at the beginning of the year and check the expiration dates and quantity, so your child doesn’t run out. Also, know the procedure for administration of the medications, and be easily accessible if you need to give permission for them to be given to your child.

7.    Give your child a bracelet

A medical ID bracelet can save your child’s life in the case of a severe allergic reaction. It quickly reminds school staff that your child may need epinephrine without them having to waste time reviewing their file.

8.    Teach your child

Give your child the tools to take charge of their own health. Make sure they know what triggers their allergic symptoms and how to avoid those triggers. Kids should also know they can feel comfortable talking to an adult if they think they’ve come into contact with an allergen, feel symptoms of an allergic reaction coming on, or believe they need medicine.

9.    Get permission for your child to carry their inhaler

While schools generally don’t allow children to carry medications at school, all 50 states have laws that allow children to carry asthma inhalers. Find out your school’s policies so your child can self-administer an inhaler when they feel it’s necessary. Waiting for a nurse to give them their inhaler could miss their treatment window and cause a severe reaction.

10.  Have a pretreatment plan

Talk to your child and the school about a pretreatment plan prior to gym class or before any after-school sports, especially if the practice is to take place outdoors during high pollen counts or in cold weather. Taking medication prior to exposure to a trigger can prevent asthma and allergy flare-ups.

These simple precautions can help avoid an emergency asthma attack or severe allergic reaction. But should your child need urgent attention due to allergies, call AccuHealth Urgent Care in St. Louis, Missouri, or just come in for immediate care.

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