Get Ready for School with an Asthma Action Plan

Get Ready for School with an Asthma Action Plan

Every new school year, you take steps to get your child ready to go back to the classroom. But if your child has asthma, back-to-school prep has another layer.

Nearly six million children under 18 in the United States struggle with asthma. Asthma symptoms can happen anywhere, anytime – even at school.

Takes steps now to help keep your child’s asthma under control in the classroom and during school activities. You can get started with these four steps:  

  1. Schedule a back-to-school exam. Your doctor will check your child’s breathing and make sure he or she has all the needed asthma medicines. The doctor can also talk with you about sports, dance, cheerleading and other physical activities that could affect your child’s asthma.
  2. Make sure your child gets a flu shot. Flu poses a special health risk for children with asthma. They can experience more severe flu symptoms. It can also take them longer to recover. Ask your doctor to administer the shot in case your child has an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
  3. Create an asthma action plan. Your child’s doctor will write the plan for you. It includes information on the medicines your child needs, clear instructions about when they should be taken each day, and what to do if symptoms worsen or an asthma attack strikes. Update the asthma action plan every school year.
  4. Meet with your child’s school. For kids in daycare or elementary school, share your child’s asthma action plan with caregivers, teachers and school nurse. Go over the plan with them and get their commitment to follow the doctor’s written instructions. For older kids, check with the school to make sure your child can use a rescue medicine leaving site icon if needed. Ensure homeroom teachers, coaches, band directors and others know your child has asthma.

Print this asthma action plan and discuss it with your child’s doctor during the back-to-school check-up.

Is your child’s school an asthma-friendly school? This checklist leaving site icon from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute outlines key steps your child’s school should take to help students with asthma.

To learn more about asthma and the “Taking on Asthma” initiative, visit our website.

Sources: Asthma Action Plan, leaving site icon American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology;  Asthma, leaving site icon National Institutes of Health, 2020; Asthma-Friendly School Initiative Toolkit, leaving site icon American Lung Association, 2020; How Asthma-Friendly is Your School, leaving site icon National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2013.

Originally published 6/21/2016; Revised 2021