As children, parents, and teachers prepare to return to the classroom, it is important to remember that children with allergies and asthma may face added anxiety. In order to prepare for the best transition back to school, start preparing before the new school year begins. Make sure your child takes his/her allergy medication(s) as prescribed so that symptoms are well controlled.
Plan a visit with your allergist or primary medical doctor to make sure prescriptions are up to date. Depending on your child’s allergic condition you may want to tour the school to identify potential asthma or allergy triggers like dust mites, mold, or chalk dust. Talk with school nurses, your child’s teacher(s), coaches, and any other relevant individuals about your child’s medical condition and treatment plan.
If your child is at risk for life-threatening reactions to foods or insect stings, make sure your doctor provides a food allergy action plan or an anaphylaxis action plan so that the school staff knows how to respond and treat your child. In addition, be certain that you provide the school with the appropriate emergency medication(s) such as auto-injectable epinephrine like EPI PEN or Auvi-Q.
Recess may be the favorite time of the school day for many children with asthma and allergies. However, it may trigger an exacerbation of symptoms. Be certain to check outside pollen levels and prepare as needed. Ask the teacher to close the windows in the classroom to keep the pollen from blowing into the classroom. For those children with exercise-induced bronchospasm, develop a treatment plan with your physician–it may include using a short acting inhaler 15 minutes before exercise. In addition, make sure your child stays hydrated and drinks plenty of fluids, warms up before exercising, and stops exercising if symptoms begin.
In summary, many students suffer from hay fever, asthma, and food allergies. In order to ensure a smooth transition back to school, plan ahead, see your physician before the start of school, make certain that medications are updated and not expired, and that relevant school personnel are aware of your child’s allergic condition. With all of this in place, your child should have a safe and successful start to the school year.