What’s the best way to manage chronic health conditions, such as allergies and asthma, when your child is at school? As a parent, you wish to be proactive about health needs to ensure your son or daughter stays well and can fully participate in academics, sports, and other activities. What follows here are common sense tips to keep allergy and asthma problems at bay and ways to treat them if they flare up at school.
Tip #1 Get Your Child an Annual Physical
The school check-up typically happens mid-summer before the academic year starts. This is your time to get school forms signed and to discuss precautions for the school year ahead with your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor will ensure all routine medications have refills and that your child’s shots are up to date. A yearly flu shot is a great idea–particularly for kids with chronic health conditions–besides the others on the CDC schedule of vaccinations.
Tip #2 Make Sure the School Knows All About Your Child’s Condition
Classroom teachers, coaches, and the school nurse should know about food and insect allergies. Regarding asthma, the school nurse should have a copy of your child’s asthma action plan and, if necessary, an inhaler or other medications to be administered during the school day. Be your child’s best advocate in ensuring his or her health and safety while under the school’s care and supervision.
Tip #3 Administer Medications at Home as Prescribed
Never skimp on or skip doses of routine medications, such as antihistamines for allergies and corticosteroid inhalers for asthma. If your child receives allergy shots, get to the pediatrician’s office as scheduled to receive them.
These are important maintenance medications. Also, be sure your youngster is willing to carry an Epi-pen (for severe allergic reactions) or inhaler and can use it properly. For example, your school athlete may need to use inhaled medications before baseball practice or other strenuous activity.
Tip #4 Practice Good Hand Washing at Home
Teach children to use warm water and soap and to wash for at least 15 seconds, or the amount of time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday.” For teens, encourage the use of hand sanitizer when they are on the go at school or other activities. Remember that kids with asthma and allergies are more prone to upper respiratory infections and the flu. So, ward off those germs with clean hands at home and at school.
Tip #5 Hydration Reduces Allergy And Asthma Symptoms
Most schools allow children to carry water bottles and use them in class. If so, make sure your youngster puts one in the school backpack each day. Also, point out that he or she should stop at the water fountain for a drink during the day. This is very important before and after gym class, after school sports, or on a particularly long school day.
At home, push water and other healthy beverages. Limit sugar-laden juices and soda pop.
Tip #5 Enforce a School Night Bedtime
Adequate sleep is critical for all members of the family. It improves cognitive function, reduces anxiety and stress, promotes growth, and rests the young immune system, which is overtaxed by allergies and asthma.
Teens need more than parents–about 9 to 10 hours a night. So, try to set aside an hour of quiet time before going to bed so kids wind down naturally and reap the restorative benefits of a good night’s sleep.
School Physicals and Asthma and Allergy Management in Lutz, FL
At Children’s Medical Center, our board-certified pediatricians are happy to assist families in managing a wide range of chronic health conditions. Your child can thrive at school, even with allergies and asthma. Well-thought-out management strategies do work.
For more information, call us to book a well-child visit (727) 787-6335, or use our online form to request an appointment. We have locations in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, FL. At Children’s Medical Center, we call it a privilege to serve families in their best possible health and wellness.