Get Ready for School with an Asthma Action Plan

Get Ready for School with an Asthma Action Plan

Each new school year, you take steps to get your child ready to go back to the classroom. But if your child has asthma, back-to-school prep has one more layer.

Nearly 4.8 million children under 18 in the U.S. struggle with asthma, says the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of Americaleaving site icon Asthma symptoms can happen anywhere, anytime — even at school.

Takes steps now to help keep your child’s asthma under control in the classroom and during school activities. You can get started with these four steps:  

  1. Plan a back-to-school exam. Your doctor will check your child’s breathing and make sure he or she has all the needed asthma medicines. The doctor can also talk with you about sports, dance, cheerleading and other physical activities that could affect your child’s asthma.
  2. Make sure your child gets a flu shot. Flu poses a special health risk for children with asthma. They can have more severe flu symptoms. It can also take them longer to get better. Ask your doctor to give the shot in case your child has an allergic reaction to the vaccine.
  3. Make an asthma action plan. Your child’s doctor will write the plan for you. It involves information on the medicines your child needs, clear instructions about when they should be taken each day, and what to do if symptoms worsen or an asthma attack strikes. Update the asthma action plan each school year.
  4. Meet with your child’s school. For kids in daycare or elementary school, share your child’s asthma action plan with caregivers, teachers and school nurse. Go over the plan with them and get their commitment to follow the doctor’s written instructions. For older kids, check with the school to make sure your child can use a rescue medicine if needed. Make sure homeroom teachers, coaches, band directors and others know your child has asthma.

Print this asthma action plan leaving site icon and talk it over with your child’s doctor during the back-to-school health exam.

Sources: Asthma Facts and Figures, leaving site icon Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 2023; Asthma Action Plan,  leaving site icon American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology;  Asthma,  leaving site icon National Institutes of Health, 2022; Asthma-Friendly School Initiative Toolkit,  leaving site icon American Lung Association, 2022

Originally published 6/21/2016; Revised 2021, 2023