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School and Asthma

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD

If you have asthma, you probably have a routine at home for taking care of it. But for much of the average day, you're not at home. You're at school. What can you do there to take care of your asthma? Let's find out.

Why Do I Need an Asthma Action Plan?

When you're dealing with asthma, you need an asthma action plan. This plan is what tells you and the grownups around you how to treat your asthma. It includes:

  • info on all the medicines you take
  • what to do if you have a flare-up
  • what things make your asthma symptoms worse, and how to avoid them

Your doctor or other health care provider will fill out your plan. Make copies of it, and share it with your teachers and the school nurse.

Who Else Should Know About My Plan?

It's a good idea for a parent or guardian to meet with the school nurse and your teachers to review the plan. This way, they'll know which medicines you need to take, and when. It's also a good idea to let your friends know about your asthma. That way, they'll understand why you take medicine and they can help if you ever have breathing trouble.

Depending on your school's rules, your teacher may keep your medicine for you or it might be kept in the school office or the nurse's office. Some kids are allowed to keep their medicine in their lockers or bags.

Make sure you always know where your medicine is, especially on special days like field trips.

How Can I Avoid Asthma Triggers at School?

Triggers are those things (like pollen or cat dander) that can make asthma worse. If you don't know what your triggers are, ask a parent or your doctor. Then do your best to avoid those things.

For example, if chalk dust is a problem, your teachers might be able to use dry erase boards instead of a chalkboard. If pollen causes problems for you, your teacher can close the windows when pollen counts outside are high.

Talk with your teacher about making changes so you don't have breathing problems in class. If you feel funny asking for these special requests, ask your parent to speak to the teacher, school nurse, or principal. Most teachers are glad to help. After all, if you can't breathe, you can't learn!

What About Sports?

You might think that because you have asthma you can't run around on the playground or play sports. That's not true! Even some pro athletes have asthma.

Just take your medicine when you need to, and let your coach or gym teacher know about your asthma.

Don't feel bad if you have to sit out a game or practice now and then. Sometimes kids with asthma need to take it a little bit easy, especially when they are sick or if the weather outside is really cold.

Get an "A" in Asthma Care!

If you follow your asthma action plan, you're more likely to keep your asthma from becoming a problem at school.

Medically reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: March 2024