Back-to-School Means Beware of Asthma for Some

Aug 05, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Asthma is a leading cause of death and disability in children younger than 18 years old, and is one of the leading causes of hospitalization in school-age children. Since children spend up to 30 percent of their day in school, a University of Missouri respiratory therapy expert says it is imperative that every school employee, from teachers to bus drivers, understand the condition and how to treat it.

“It’s not just teachers and school nurses who need to be able to deal with asthma,” said Shawna Strickland, clinical assistant professor of respiratory therapy in the School of Health Professions. “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 actions.”

As students go back to school, there could be plenty of asthma triggers waiting for them, Strickland said. Buildings without air conditioning often have open windows that create more problematic dust. Dry eraser markers and chalk dust also release odor and particles. Textbooks that are old and musty can create problems and, in some schools, mold is an issue. Classrooms with pets such as gerbils can cause allergic reactions in some children.

Strickland stresses the importance of having an asthma action plan. The plan should include contact information for the child’s doctor and a list of medications, such as inhalers or spacers, and how to use them properly. School employees should be trained to recognize signs and symptoms of an impending asthma attack.

“When we think of asthma, we often think of severe wheezing and shortness of breath,” Strickland said. “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.”

Strickland said that approximately two out of 30 students in a class will have asthma. Asthma is the cause of 14.7 million lost school days in children ages five to 18 and affects more than 5 million children.

Provided by University of Missouri

Explore further: Harmful drinkers would be affected 200 times more than low risk drinkers with an MUP

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Evidence of a local hot bubble carved by a supernova

14 minutes ago

I spent this past weekend backpacking in Rocky Mountain National Park, where although the snow-swept peaks and the dangerously close wildlife were staggering, the night sky stood in triumph. Without a fire, ...

Nature inspires a greener way to make colorful plastics

14 minutes ago

Long before humans figured out how to create colors, nature had already perfected the process—think stunning, bright butterfly wings of many different hues, for example. Now scientists are tapping into ...

F1000Research brings static research figures to life

1 hour ago

F1000Research today published new research from Bjorn Brembs, professor of neurogenetics at the Institute of Zoology, Universitaet Regensburg, in Germany, with a proof-of-concept figure allowing readers and reviewers to run ...

Wave energy impact on harbour operations investigated

1 hour ago

Infragravity period oscillations—waves that occur between 25 and 300 seconds with a wavelength between 100m and 10km—can have an impact on berthing operations, depending on a harbour's geometry.

Recommended for you

Research looks to combat US Latina immigrant obesity

9 hours ago

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, comprising 16.7% of the population. Approximately one-third of Latinos are obese and are 1.2 times as likely to be obese compared ...

User comments : 0