What is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease in which the airways in the lungs are inflamed. When triggered by an irritant or allergen, the asthmatic airways can become swollen, making it difficult for air to move in and out of the lungs. This can result in symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness, and severe symptoms can result in death if not promptly recognized and treated.
Asthma can manifest in children and teenagers at school and can be life-threatening. Students may experience an asthma exacerbation while exercising during gym class, or it may be triggered by dust or mold in a classroom. In the event of an asthma flare, quick administration of rescue medication, such as albuterol, can help relax and open the airways, relieving symptoms in many cases, and some medications may be taken before exercising to prevent asthma from flaring. Given the potential severity of asthma exacerbations, some schools choose to stock albuterol.
Schools can help keep children with asthma safe at school by having strategies in place to prevent asthma exacerbations. Schools need also to be ready to respond to a student experiencing an asthma exacerbation. Part of a school’s medical emergency response planning needs to include education on this medical emergency. Here are key points on how a school can recognize and respond to an asthma exacerbation.
How a school can recognize and respond to an asthma emergency.
An asthma exacerbation includes trouble breathing. This may involve wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness.
Certain factors may increase the likelihood of a student having an asthma exacerbation. These risk factors include:
In case of an asthma emergency, follow this protocol: