Does your child have asthma? If so, you probably worry every time he or she goes to school. But you can help his or her teachers make the grade by providing some essential education in asthma management for them. By alerting them to the asthma warning signs and teaching them how to respond in an emergency situation, you can get them involved to help safeguard your child’s health.

The Scope of Childhood Asthma

Today childhood asthma is a common problem in the United States, affecting as many as 6.8 million children, according to statistics offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

With so many children suffering from this chronic condition, schools have a very important role to play in supporting asthmatic children and their families.

Reach Out to Teachers

The first thing you can do to help manage your child’s breathing condition is to make an appointment to meet with his or her teachers and alert them to the situation. You will want to give them an overview of your child’s triggers and symptoms and share the warning signs that your child needs treatment. In addition to your child’s homeroom teacher, it is often appropriate to also meet with the physical education teacher, the school nurse and anyone else who has responsibility for child throughout the school day.

You will also want to leave necessary medications at the school, along with written directions (and your permission) on how and when to use them effectively. If your child needs to take more than one treatment option, make sure you carefully explain what each medication is, and in what circumstances each one is used and how to take it most appropriately.

Plan Ahead

You should also provide a copy of your asthma management plan or action plan. This is a written document that is compiled with the help of your pediatrician or specialist. The plan should list the warning signs of an impending attack and give clear directions on how to respond to an asthma episode. Some of the types of signs that teachers should be on the lookout for include:

  • Hunched posture with straining neck muscles
  • Persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Difficulty talking

The school personnel should know exactly how to respond to these symptoms appropriately, and also when to call for emergency medical care if the symptoms don’t resolve rapidly upon administering medication.

Get Physical

Some children who have asthma find that their symptoms are triggered by vigorous exercise. If your child falls into this group, you will need to let the physical education teacher know to be on the lookout for signs of an attack. Ask the teacher to work with you to offer a safe setting for your child to exercise and to adopt the lesson plan for your child based on what kind of day he or she is having. Such steps can help minimize the risks involved in too much activity. If your child takes an inhaler for exercise-induced asthma, make sure to provide permission to use this medication regularly prior to activity.


While teachers can play an important role in helping to manage your child’s condition, keep in mind that you, too, should stay involved and ensure that your child’s health takes center stage. You might also work with the teachers to familiarize the other students with the signs and symptoms of asthma so they won’t be afraid and can help support your child’s health needs that may arise throughout the course of the school day.
Finally, understand the necessity to also keep the lines of communication open between your home and the school. When everyone works together to manage your child’s asthma, you will be able to help your child get the most out of school and help him or her stay in good health on a regular basis.


The Lung Association