Asthma and Schools
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What is asthma?
Why schools should be concerned
Recognizing asthma
What triggers asthma?
Tips for managing triggers
How is asthma treated?
Handling asthma at school
What to do when asthma gets out of
Asthma management plans

What is asthma?
[Click on the asterisk next to shaded terms for definitions.]

Asthma< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/asthma.htm','termasthma','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')"> is a common disease that affects the lungs.  Approximately five million children under age 18 in the United States are diagnosed with asthma. [1]

Children who have asthma may experience wheezing< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/wheeze.htm','termwheeze','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')">, coughing or difficulty breathing.  A student with asthma may exhibit one or more of these symptoms either periodically or on a regular basis.

Asthma symptoms are usually caused by inflammation and tightening in the airways of the respiratory system.  This inflammation and tightening is often "triggered"< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/trigger.htm','termtrigger','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')"> by exposure to certain allergens< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/allergen.htm','termallergen','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')">.  Allergens are substances found in the everyday environment.  When a person is allergic to something, their body reacts when they are exposed to that substance (allergen).

Typical allergens found in schools include regular dust or chalk dust, mold, cleaning products, animal dander or certain foods such as milk or peanut butter.

Asthma symptoms often flare up when school children get colds, upper respiratory viruses< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/repiratoryviruses.htm','termrespiratoryviruses','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')"> or flu.  Exercise or cold air can also trigger asthma.

Asthma symptoms can appear at any time in life. Asthma symptoms may diminish or disappear in children after they pass puberty.

Students with asthma should develop an asthma action plan< a href="../index.html" onClick="MM_openBrWindow('../glossary/asthmaactionplan.htm','termactionplan','scrollbars=yes,width=400,height=300')"> with their health care providers.  A copy should be provided to the school nurse at the beginning of each school year as well as anytime the plan is modified.  If asthma keeps a student from focusing on school work either in school or at home, then school staff should talk with the parents about adjusting the student's asthma action plan.

With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled.  Most school children who have asthma should be able to lead active, normal lives.

Why schools should be concerned
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