With school's start just around the corner, many parents of allergic children face the challenge of making sure their children are healthy and safe even while not under their direct supervision. The back-to-school season is a time of high pollen and mold levels, and exposure to both (and additional) allergens and viruses at school can take a large toll on children's health. Asthma, triggered in large part by allergies and respiratory illnesses, accounts for a 46 percent increase in emergency room visits among children during the fall, Medical News Today reports.
Following are some tips offered by the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) to help children stay healthy and avoid missing school:
- Schedule a back-to-school checkup with your child's allergist to make sure allergy and asthma symptoms are under control. If you've never taken your child to an allergist, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment for allergy testing and developing a treatment plan.
- Communicate your child's treatment plan with school staff. This should include a list of allergens that trigger your child's allergy or asthma symptoms, medications, and emergency contact information.
- Protect your child against the flu (both seasonal and H1N1) through vaccinations, especially if he or she has asthma.
- Meet with the school nurse, teachers, and coaches to ensure that they are familiar with your child's symptoms and treatment plan. Remind them that the inability to concentrate, temper tantrums, and irritability, rather than mere behavioral problems, could be subtle signs of battling asthma or allergy symptoms.
- Have a plan in place for emergencies. Children can keep inhalers with them at school with an allergist's recommendation. In addition, those at risk of anaphylaxis should have their Epi-pens at the ready. Make sure both your child and school staff know how to use these emergency medications, and make sure that you've filled out a permission form allowing staff to administer medications if they're needed.
- Discuss ways to avoid allergy triggers with your child.
- If your child is allergic to pets, ensure that your child isn't exposed to class pets that could be triggering symptoms.
- sure that coaches and gym teachers recognize signs and symptoms of an asthma attack, such as coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
- Broadcast food allergy information. Share a list of allergic foods and safe alternatives with lunch staff, teachers, medical staff, and class volunteers.
- Tour the school to indentify substances that could trigger your child's allergy or asthma symptoms.