The teacher's knowledge of asthma and how to deal with an asthmatic attack in children can go a long way in making life comfortable for the children who suffer from asthma.
Asthma is a leading cause of death and disability in children younger than 17 years old. It is one of the leading causes of hospitalization in school-age children. Since children spend up to 30 percent of their day in school, experts say it is imperative that everyone involved in the school system, from teachers to bus drivers, understands the condition and how to treat it. In response to this public health concern, the Department of
Cardiopulmonary and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia has developed a training workshop on managing children with asthma.
"It's not just teachers and school nurses who need to be able to deal with asthma," said Terri Dobey, respiratory therapy instructor at MU. "The office staff, bus drivers and janitors also need to be informed. Sometimes, especially in rural areas, there is only one nurse who covers several schools. It's up to teachers and others to recognize impending symptoms and take appropriate action."
As students go back to school, there could be plenty of asthma triggers waiting for them, the researcher had said. Buildings without air conditioning often have open windows that create more problematic dust. The odor from the particles released by dry eraser markers and chalk dust also are triggers. Textbooks that are old and musty can create problems and, in some schools, mold is an issue. Classrooms with pets such as gerbils also can cause allergic reactions in some children.
Dobey stresses the importance of having an asthma treatment plan on file for asthmatic students. The plan should include contact information for the child's doctor and a list of the child's medications, such as inhalers or spacers, and how to properly use them. School employees also should be trained on how to recognize signs and symptoms of an impending asthma attack.
"When we think of asthma we often think of full-blown wheezing and shortness of breath," said Dobey. "However, for many kids, a full-blown attack can be preceded by a persistent cough, complaints of not feeling well and not behaving properly instead of the classic signs."
Dobey said that approximately two out of 30 students in a classroom would have asthma. Asthma is the cause of 10 million lost school days in children ages five to 17 and affects more than 10 percent of all children.
Medindia on Asthma: further information
Asthma: Asthma is the condition of affected airways that restrict the airflow to the lungs. People suffering from asthma have their air passages always inflamed and sensitive to outside irritants that set off the allergic reactions of narrowing the air passage that makes it difficult to breathe.
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