As a pediatrician and mother of three children who battle asthma, Donna Backus is all too familiar with the anxiety parents of asthmatic children face at the start of the school year. “Juggling my career with being a mother of asthmatic children takes a lot of coordination and planning. Using controller medicines is enormously helpful because it eliminates the flare up factor,” says Dr. Donna Backus. Rochelle Doctor, mother of 10 year old Jordan who has asthma, says she always gets the back to school jitters. “We need to make sure his medications are refilled, we need to make sure the nurse has an ample amount of medication on hand,” says Rochelle. But, according to a recent poll conducted by the American Lung Association a startling number of parents are not taking basic steps to manage their child’s asthma while at school. “Every year, September and October are number one months for emergency visits and severe asthma related complications so it is important to have that talk before the school season begins,” explains allergist, Dr. Clifford Bassett of Long Island College Hospital. The data revealed that less than half of the parents polled, spoke with the teacher about their child’s asthma…nor did they make sure the child’s medicine was available at school. “Education is power. If you know how to manage the child's asthma when it's starting you don't get into those extreme flare ups,” says Dr. Backus.
The American Lung Association recommends that every child with asthma should have a written asthma action plan, developed with the child’s physician, that details the child’s specific asthma triggers, medications, instructions during physical activity and an emergency plan.
Other things to prepare include being up to date on regular pediatrician visits, have prescriptions updated and filled for the first day of school and scheduling a flu shot for your child to be immunized in October. According to the American Lung Association, preventing influenza may reduce asthma episodes and trips to the emergency room.
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