Breathing Easy When School Starts

Students need to avoid asthma and allergy triggers when they return to classes

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FRIDAY, Aug. 20, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- With the start of the school year, parents need to take steps to protect their children from allergy and asthma triggers they may encounter at school.

Dust mites, chalk dust, pollen, molds, exercise and animal dander from class pets or on other student's clothes are common allergy and asthma triggers in schools, says the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI).

Food sensitivities are another potential problem. Six foods account for 90 percent of food allergies in children: milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy and tree nuts. Parents should remind children with food sensitivities not to share lunches, snacks or any other foods with other children.

The AAAAI offers advice for parents on how to protect their children from allergy and asthma triggers at school:

  • Before school starts, parents should tour the school and identify potential allergy/asthma triggers.
  • Make sure the school has a School Management Plan for your child.
  • Discuss your child's condition with teachers and the school nurse.
  • Remind your children to take maintenance medications as prescribed.
  • Encourage your children to ask teachers for help if they experience allergy or asthma symptoms.
  • If your child has food allergies, inform cafeteria staff and teachers about them and suggest safe alternatives.
  • It's best for food-sensitive children to bring a bag lunch to school.
  • Inform physical education teachers and coaches about your child's asthma and outline the warning signs for them.
  • Make sure your child has their medications and peak flow meter with them at school.

More information

The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has more about allergy and asthma prevention.

SOURCE: American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, news release, Aug. 16, 2004

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