Parents/guardians are responsible for providing the school with up-to-date information about their child’s asthma. Information should be provided at the start of each school year/session and when the child’s asthma information changes.
Educate your child so that they understand:
- common asthma triggers;
- signs of worsening asthma and when to ask for help;
- the importance of being physically active;
- the importance of carrying medication with them at all times; and
- how to administer medication.
The following includes things you can do to assist in the management of your child’s asthma while at school:
Identify that your child has asthma.
Tell the school and the teacher that your child has asthma. When the school registration form asks about health information, inform the school about your child’s asthma and use of asthma medicines. Consider having your son/daughter wear a MedicAlert™ bracelet or similar device to identify that they have asthma.
Identifying and supporting a student with asthma is a collaborative effort
The Plan of Care is a form that help empower and support students with prevalent medical conditions. This form requires participation from the school boards, school staff, educators, parents/guardians and students. Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 161: Supporting Children and Students with Prevalent Medical Conditions (Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Diabetes, and/or Epilepsy) in Schools, 2018 requires that school boards develop a Plan of Care to help identify students with asthma.
Ensure your child has easy access to asthma medication.
Your child needs to have easy and quick access to their inhaler. For younger children, this typically involves having the quick relief inhaler in the classroom and for older children, carrying their own inhaler. Find out about the school’s procedure so that your child has easy access. This typically involves the completion of forms, such as the Plan of Care and an Authorization for Medication Administration form. Ryan’s Law requires schools to provide easy access to asthma inhalers when the necessary forms are completed and with parent/guardian permission for those less than 16 years of age.
If your child will be carrying and administering the inhaler, ensure that your child:
- has the reliever inhaler (usually blue) accessible at all times (the inhaler needs to be with the student every day at all times);
- knows when and how to use the inhaler correctly;
- Knows how to respond and the steps to take if the reliever medication does not make them feel better or isn’t working;
- does not share the medication with friends;
- knows when the medication is empty and a new one is needed; and
- tells the teacher every time they take the medication.
It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to ensure that your child has dedicated reliever inhaler(s) for school use that are not past their expiration date. Some students may need more than one additional inhaler for school so that an inhaler can be kept in the locker, backpack and gym bag. All inhalers need to be clearly labelled with the student’s name.
If your child needs help using the inhaler, provide information on their Plan of Care, and include information about how to give the inhaler medications correctly and review the technique with school staff caring for your child. Prepare your child for field trips and discuss any issues with the supervising teacher. Remember to send the reliever medication (usually blue) for your child to take on the field trip. Ensure that your child knows how and when to use asthma medication safely.
Establish a process for handling worsening asthma.
Complete and return the Plan of Care to the school. This form contains your child’s photograph, emergency contacts, information about your child’s asthma triggers and reliever medication (including where it’s located) and how to recognize and respond to asthma symptoms and emergency situations. Pictures should be recent photographs of the head and shoulders, approximately 2 x 2.5" (this form will be posted in the staff room/health room and /or where appropriate, given parent/guardian permission, and in the supply teacher folder to identify students to staff).
Provide the teacher/coach/recreation leader with a copy of the Plan of Care so that they will know about your child’s triggers, medications and what to do when the asthma gets worse.
Review the Plan of Care and measure to prevent and handle asthma symptoms with your child.
Identify and reduce common asthma triggers for your child within the school.
Talk to teachers about the triggers that affect your child. Make sure that the Plan of Care has identified your child’s asthma triggers.
Encourage your child to participate in physical activity and play.
Talk to your child about the benefits of participating in physical and play. Do not let your child/youth’s asthma be a barrier to being active.
Provide opportunities for asthma education (such as school staff, other parents/guardians, students and volunteers).
Be an Asthma Champion and talk to school staff about how to become asthma friendly.
Collaborate with others (such as health care providers, public health, other parents/guardians and community partners) to create asthma friendly schools.
Work with your health care provider to ensure that your child’s asthma is under good control, that they have a quick relief inhaler for school use and that they have the asthma knowledge and skills to successfully manage his/her asthma at schools.