Ten Tips for Parents

The following are tips for parents to help children with asthma and/ or food allergies. This will help keep your child knowledgeable & healthy during the school year:

1.     Make sure a "School Management Plan" is on file for your child at school. Click on the link provided by the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network to print up an Action Plan for your child. http://www.foodallergy.org/actionplan.pdf
http://www.lungusa.org/pub/ast_article8.html

2.     Schedule a meeting with teachers and the school nurse to discuss your child’s condition.
 
3.     Encourage children to take their maintenance medications as prescribed.
 
4.     Review your child’s triggers with them and encourage them to ask their teacher for help when symptoms worsen.
 
5.     If your child is allergic to certain foods, inform school cafeteria staff and teachers to avoid and     suggest safe alternatives. If possible, have your child bring a bag lunch to school. The child or school nurse should have physician orders with the Epi-Pen™ and know how to use it.

6.     Inform physical education teachers and coaches about asthma and warning signs of asthma attack.
 
7.     Work with your child’s school system to address their concerns about your child’s medical needs.

8.     Encourage your child’s physician to be an informational resource for the school.

9.     See a physician if your child is having trouble with learning, endurance or alertness. These symptoms may be due to side effects of the child’s condition or medications.

10.   Make sure your child has their medications and peak flow meter with them at school.

Basic Information about Peak Flow Meters

What is a peak flow meter?
A peak flow meter for asthma is like a thermometer for a fever. It is a tool that helps you monitor what’s going on inside your lungs.

How do you use one?
Asthma sufferers blow into them quickly and forcefully, and the resulting peak flow reading indicates how open your airways are, or how difficult is it for you to breathe.

What does it do?
Helps to determine the severity of your asthma. Checks your response to treatment during episodes. Monitors progress in treatment of chronic asthma and provides objective information for therapies. Detects worsening in lung function and thereby helps to avoid a possible flare-up in asthma by facilitating early treatment of impending flares. Facilitates diagnosis of exercise-induced asthma.

Why is it important?
It helps you and your allergist evaluate asthma severity. Peak flow readings may fall before the symptoms of asthma are otherwise noticed.

How do you obtain one?
Peak flow meters are available over-the-counter, but should be used with the recommendation of your allergist or pediatrician, who can give you directions.

Family's Responsibility

Notify the school of the child's allergies.

Work with the school team to develop a plan that accommodates the child's needs throughout the school including in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in after-care programs, during school-sponsored activities, and on the school bus, as well as a Food Allergy Action Plan.

Provide written medical documentation, instructions, and medications as directed by a physician, using the Food Allergy Action Plan as a guide. Include a photo of the child on written form.

Replace medications after use or upon expiration.

Educate the child in the self-management of their food allergy including: safe and unsafe foods strategies for avoiding exposure to unsafe foods symptoms of allergic reactions how and when to tell an adult they may be having an allergy-related problem how to read food labels (age appropriate)

Review policies/procedures with the school staff, the child's physician, and the child (if age appropriate) after a reaction has occurred.

Student's Responsibility

Students should not trade food with others.
Students should not eat anything with unknown ingredients or known to contain any allergen.

Students should be proactive in the care and management of their food allergies and reactions based on their developmental level.

Students should notify an adult immediately if they eat something they believe may contain the food to which they are allergic.


More detailed suggestions for implementing these objectives and creating a specific plan for each individual student in order to address his or her particular needs are available in The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network's (FAAN) School Food Allergy Program. The School Food Allergy Program has been endorsed and/or supported by the Anaphylaxis Committee of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology, the National Association of School Nurses, and the Executive Committee of the Section on Allergy and Immunology of the American Academy of Pediatrics. FAAN can be reached at: 1-800-929-4040.

A great web site for parents and children is:
http://www.aaaai.org/patients/just4kids/coloringbook
The www.aaaai.org homepage has a wealth of information for you and your family regarding asthma and allergy education, prevention and fun!