Back-to-School – Let's get Asthma and Allergy Ready?
Starting the new school year can be a time of great enthusiasm… and anxiety. When kids with allergies leave the protection of their home environment, it’s important for you to take steps to help reduce the incidence of an allergic reaction. Here's how to prepare your child to go back to school safely.
Keep the Routine at Home While Not-at-school
Start preparing before the new school year begins. Make sure your child takes his asthma or allergy medications as prescribed. Keeping this routine during the summer break will make sure that your child stays in habit of taking medications on time.
Tour the School
Tour the school to identify potential asthma or allergy triggers. Walk around the school. Check in the Classroom for dust mites, mold, chalk dust and animal dander. Find where you child goes during recess, gym Class and after-School Sports. Accessibility of the school nurse from those sites should be checked.
Find the School's Rules
Make sure any paperwork about a child with allergies is filled out and signed before the start of school. The nursing office might have different forms. If the doctor needs to fill the form, make sure, you bring it to the office so it is taken care of, before the school starts. Make sure you have several ways to be contacted by the school in case of emergency. Finally, finding out if the school has a nurse on site at all times and how an allergic reaction would be handled.
Discuss an Allergy Action Plan
Every second is important during an allergic reaction. An allergy action plan helps ensure that teachers and the school nurse have a plan to work on. This will also avoid a panic situation. Discuss with the nurse if all the emergency medications are readily available.
Providing Your Own Medications
Discuss with the school if there is an option of providing allergy medication — such as an antihistamine, inhaler, or epinephrine auto-injector — before school starts. Then, when you send medication to school, label it properly, check that it has not expired.
Discuss with Teachers
Teachers play an important role and it is important that your child’s teachers know of your child's allergies. Discussing with them about the triggers of your child and the signs of an allergic reaction so they can act fast on the allergy action plan.
Educate Your Child
It is important to discuss with your child about what they are allergic to and make them understand the symptoms of an allergic reaction. They should know not to eat food without making sure it doesn’t contain foods that they are allergic to, or better yet, not to share food with friends or eat anything that they are not sure of.
Have Your Child Wear a Medic Alert Bracelet
A medic alert bracelet would be a great idea for children at risk of a severe allergic reaction. There are various styles available which can be exciting for children to wear with their new back-to-school clothes and bag.
Make Sure Everyone is in Agreement
From the time the child leaves your protected home environment to the time the child gets back, everyone should be in agreement about your child’s allergy triggers and management. Bus driver, sports coach, extended school personnel and baby-sitters all play a role in ensuring your child’s safety.
Volunteer and Know the School
Volunteering at the school will be a good way to know how the school works. This can help you feel more connected to your child's surroundings and the teachers, nurses, administrators there. It will also provide you with a chance to increase awareness about your child’s allergy care.