You probably have a routine for caring for your asthma
at home. But at school, things might be a little different.
It's still possible to mange your asthma — and help prevent flare-ups
("attacks") — when you're at school. All you need is a little preparation and
How Can I Manage Asthma at School?
The best way to control asthma is to take the medicine
your doctor prescribed as directed.
Here are some other ways to keep asthma symptoms under control:
Create an asthma action plan. Your doctor will work with you
to create an asthma action plan that
takes into account your school schedule and activities. The plan may include
your medicines and when and how to take them, things to watch out for that can trigger
an asthma flare-up, early signs of a flare-up, what to do if you have a flare-up,
and when it's an emergency.
Make sure your school has a copy of your action plan. The school
office and health office should both have copies of your plan. So should the athletic
department if you play any sports. In some cases, you may want to discuss the plan
with coaches or the school nurse.
Figure out the best way to follow your plan. Some schools let
teens carry their medicines with them. Others want all medicines kept at the health
office. The school nurse or your teacher may be able to suggest ways of fitting treatment
into the school day.
Talk to your teachers, coaches, and friends. The more people
who know about your asthma, the more help you'll have when you need it. For example,
your homeroom teacher will understand your request to close the windows when the pollen
count is high. Your gym teacher will know that you can't run outside in really cold
weather. And by telling your friends, you may find you're not as alone as you thought
— some of your classmates probably have asthma too. By talking about it, you
might help them too.
Do the best you can to manage
triggers. You don't control your school environment, so it can be tougher
to manage triggers there. But there are a few things you can do:
If you have exercise-induced
asthma, make sure you have access to your quick-relief medicine before and during
If chalk dust, smoke, pollen, or mold are a problem, let a teacher or the school
nurse know. Exposure to these often can be reduced or eliminated.
If you get flare-ups because of stress, do your best to prepare for things like
tests. Learning relaxation techniques, like breathing exercises, can help.
Assume you can play sports.
Lots of elite athletes have asthma, from pro football players to Olympic gold medal
winners. There's no reason you should have to skip sports, gym classes, and other
physical activities. But you'll definitely want to talk with your doctor about playing
sports so you'll know how to manage things.
How Can I Handle Flare-Ups?
Chances are, you won't be able to prevent every single flare-up. That means you
always need to be prepared for one, especially at school. Always be able to get to
your inhaler — either in your backpack or the health office. Use it whenever
you need to.
If you feel a flare-up coming on, get the help you need. Don't ignore the flare-up
or hope it will go away on its own. Take charge and you'll be breathing easier soon.