Creating an Asthma-Friendly School

 

 Students and their parents can benefit from these tips from the American Lung Association to create a place at school where students with asthma can feel safe, secure, and ready to learn. 

Know Your At-Risk Students  
Does your school's Health Inquiry Form include asthma-related questions? Tracking students with asthma can ensure that students with the greatest need receive proper health services. The American Lung Association provides additional resources for tracking students with asthma in the Maximizing School Health Services section of the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI) Toolkit. 

File Asthma Action Plans 
Students’ physicians can help develop a plan on what to do based on asthma symptoms. Teachers and school staff should keep copies of the Asthma Action Plan for those students they see on a regular basis. Learn more about Asthma Action Plans

Allow Access to Quick-relief Medicines 
State law allows students to carry and use asthma medicines while at school, but school policies vary. Schools should inform parents if there is any required paperwork, such as a medication release form, to allow children access to their inhaler or other medication.  

Keep the Air Clean 
Poor indoor air can affect health and trigger asthma symptoms. Keep an eye on asthma triggers such as mold, pet dander, air fresheners and cleaning chemicals. Reference this Healthy Air Classroom Checklist from the American Lung Association. 

Be Prepared for an Emergency Situation  
Knowing what to do in case of an asthma emergency can save lives. Learn more about asthma emergency protocols

Go Tobacco Free 
Keep the school community safe, with a tobacco-free policy for both the indoor and outdoor environments of your schools. 

Employ a Full-time Registered Nurse 
School nurses are uniquely qualified to provide health services and health counseling to students, and have a front line to help motivate parents and link them to resources in the community. 

Educate, Educate, Educate 
Teachers, school staff, parents and children can all benefit from asthma education to create a safer classroom.  

  • For adults: Asthma Basics – designed to help adults better understand asthma and prepare them to prevent an asthma emergency.  
  • For kids ages five to ten: Lungtropolis® – Web-based game that also provides information and resources for parents and caregivers. 
  • For kids ages eight to eleven: Open Airways For Schools® – learn about asthma in an interactive and supportive group environment.  

Reduce Exposure on High Pollution Days 
Outdoor air pollution makes breathing more difficult for everyone. Check AirNow.gov for local air quality on a daily basis. Learn more about managing student exposure to outdoor air on high pollution days.  

Encourage Physical Activity When Able 
Students with asthma (and their caregivers) may be concerned about over exertion. By following the steps outlined above, you can help everyone feel confident that students with asthma can participate in safely managed physical activities. The Asthma-friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit offers strategies to use throughout the school year.

How asthma-friendly is your school? Use this checklist from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to see if you’re providing a supportive environment.

To learn more about Asthma and the Taking on Asthma initiative, visit our website!

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