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Asthma in the Classroom

Health and Learning presentation on what teachers should know about asthma.

Sabrina Noble

on 9 December 2010

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Transcript of Asthma in the Classroom

Action Plans Asthma? Resources for Teachers What I Learned Asthma in the Classroom http://www.lungusa.org/lung-disease/asthma/ Asthma is one of the leading causes of childhood disability.

In 2009, over 9% of children in the United States have asthma. That’s roughly 7 million kids and 3 out of a classroom of 30 who have major trouble breathing.

Asthma is also the cause of about 14 million missed school days! Prevalence Triggers Asthma triggers can be just about anything. Therefore, there are many different things that can increase the chances of an attack during school.

Emotional anxiety
Pests such as cockroaches and dust mites
Pet dander
Secondhand smoke
Perfume or strong scents
Cold weather

And any other allergies the student might have can all trigger an attack! Effects on Academic Success Studies have shown that children with asthma are more likely to experience:

Lower self-esteem
Decreased confidence
Feelings of inadequacy and helplessness

School performance also may be affected by:

Asthma medications
Perceptions of inability to participate in school activities
Exacerbation of symptoms

(Akinbami, 2006)

I have asthma.

Asthma is very common in school-age children. There will not be a time when I will not have a student with asthma in at least one of my classes.

Asthma is a disease without a cure. There are many different management techniques that can be used to suppress the symptoms of asthma, but an individual will never see the disappearance of the disease once it develops. If the asthma is exercise induced, the student will have a hard time participating in gym class and any active extracurricular activities like sports.

Stress resulting from living with asthma is also a big issue. For example – a boy with asthma on the football team who needs to take a break might choose not to for fear of the other boys thinking he’s weak.

With asthma attacks being the number one reason affecting school attendance, asthma also affects a student’s ability to learn the required amount of information to succeed academically.
Honestly, if you can’t breathe, don’t you think that paying attention to what is being taught is the least of your worries? Asthma is not just something that one geeky kid in cartoons has. It is a suprisingly common respiratory diesase among children. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines asthma as “a disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten and swell.”

This can occur because of two things:

People who have asthma may have one or both causes of blockage, depending on how severe the disease is. What is it? Why Asthma? Sabrina Noble There are really only two ways to handle an asthma attack in the classroom – before the attack and during the attack. Instructions for Managing Asthma Symptoms

When asthma symptoms (i.e. coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath) present:

• remove student from the trigger
• have student use reliever inhaler as directed by medical doctor (refer to medication label)
• have student remain in an upright position • have student breathe slowly and deeply
• do NOT have student breathe into a bag or lie down
• if student totally recovers, participation in activities may resume

If symptoms persist:

• wait 5-10 minutes to see if breathing difficulty is relieved
• if not, repeat the reliever medication
• if the student’s breathing difficulty is relieved, he or she can resume school activities, but should be monitored closely. The student should avoid vigorous activity and may require additional reliever medication.

• has used the reliever medication and it has not helped within 5-10 minutes
• has difficulty speaking or is struggling for breath
• appears pale, grey or is sweating • has greyish/blue lips or nail beds
• requests a doctor or ambulance or asks to go to the hospital
• you have any doubt about the student’s condition

• call 911, wait for the ambulance, DO NOT drive the student
• continue to give the reliever inhaler every two to three minutes until help arrives
• contact parents/caregivers, as soon as possible Although preparation is always the best resource towards an asthma attack, sometimes we cannot be prepared enough. Plain and simple.

Strive for an asthma friendly school. Remove:
idling cars from the pick-up lane
dust and pests
strong perfume scents

Contact parents and doctors of the student with asthma and create an asthma action plan.

With an asthma action plan, you'll know
contact info of parents and doctors
the student’s particular triggers
how to react to cater to that specific student’s needs. The best action plan is one that was previously developed by the Halton Region school district in Ontario, Canada in 2007.

The emergency protocol is separated into three parts: when the student is first experiencing symptoms of an attack, when the student’s symptoms persist, and when the student is in an emergency situation. Prevention Halton Region, Ontario Protocol In conclusion... Asthma IS in the classroom and will always be a health risk to learning. All we, as teachers, can do is know how to identify and tame it before an attack gets out of hand. The only way to do this is to work together with parents and doctors to ensure the safety of the student. http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/schools.html http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/asthma/actionplan_text.htm http://www.epa.gov/asthma/index.html Imagine you're twelve years old. It's a beautiful day outside.....
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