How to manage Asthma in a school environment
Aasin, a 10 years old Asthma patient, went to school as usual. She was feeling slightly uneasy during recess and started wheezing and breathing heavily a little later. She had an acute episode of Asthma. A teacher came to help, but as she was not trained to manage Asthma symptoms, so was not able to do much and Aasin had to be rushed to a hospital. Like Aasin, there are a lot of school-going children who suffer from Asthma, but are our schools well-prepared to handle such situations?
Asthma is a lung disease that causes inflammation of airways. It triggers excessive production of mucus, which constricts the air passage and makes breathing difficult. Its symptoms include wheezing, tightness in chest, shortness of breath and coughing. Exposure to a substance like pollen, dust mites, mould spores, pet dander etc., can activate its symptoms. As per estimates of World Health Organisation, the prevalence of asthma in children from 5 -11 years is 10-15%. These rising statistics are due to lack of robust immunity, misuse of antibiotics, indoor and outdoor air pollution, pollen, food colour and additives, obesity, second-hand smoke, and poorly ventilated. Owing to these rising stats, every decade, it is essential to develop a therapy to control asthma and help children live an active and fuller life.
Students spend a lot of their time at school. This makes it imperative to have a comprehensive plan that addresses medical management of this condition. This can be achieved only through a strong family-physician and school partnership. Here is the steps that should be followed to manage Asthma at school.
Recognising Asthma students: It is extremely crucial for teachers to identify students who are suffering from Asthma. This can be done by accessing their medical history or through regular health check-ups.
Educate all staff members on Asthma: It is essential that all the teachers and staff members are educated on symptoms and needs of Asthma students to be able to identify their symptoms and administer control and emergency medication as and when needed.
Maintain the asthma action plan: School should have the action plan for Asthma available in writing for teachers and other staff member’s easy referral. A plan should include medication, symptoms recognition and what needs to be done in case of an emergency.
Communicate with parents and caretakers: Coordinate with the parents or care-takers about student’s health update to help them track their child’s condition.
Educate the student on Asthma self-care: By educating students on how to manage Asthma at schools, they would be able to self-manage their condition and live a fuller life.
Maintain allergens and irritants free environment: To provide an environment free from Asthma provoking substances like chemical odours, smoke, mould, dust and other irritants. Additionally, classrooms should be well ventilated to let fresh air circulate.
By recognising early warning signs of Asthma we can help avoid serious episodes in children. Carengrow’s patent-pending app monitors children’s health on regular basis and tracks Asthma symptoms to assist children to lead a happier and fuller life.