Asthma and Food Allergies

Children With Asthma and Food Allergies Need a School Emergency Plan

School can be a challenge for children with asthma or a food allergy. A sudden asthma attack or allergic reaction can quickly become an emergency situation. Unfortunately, not all students with these conditions have a plan in place to help in such a situation.

The number of children with asthma and food allergies is growing. More than 10 percent of children now suffer from asthma, while around 8 percent have a food allergy. These conditions can usually be managed, but an emergency can happen anytime, even during the school day.

“Any student who suffers from asthma or food allergies should have an plan in place that teachers or school employees can use during a health crisis,” said Bethany Jackson, M.D., Floyd pediatrician.

The following information should be included in an emergency care plan:

  • An explanation of the child’s condition
  • Physician approved step-by-step care instructions
  • A list of all current medications
  • A list of factors that could trigger asthmatic or allergic reactions
  • Special dietary needs
  • The name and contact information for the child’s doctor

Dr. Jackson says that an emergency care plan is a vital tool in a child’s care.

“School employees don’t always know how to care for a child who is suffering from an asthma attack or allergic reaction,” she said. “They may not know how to recognize symptoms or how to give proper medication. In these cases, an emergency care plan can save your child from a serious health scare.”

Dr. Jackson offered additional steps that can be used to protect your child during a health-related emergency:

  • Tell your child’s teachers and other school employees about your child’s condition, including symptoms to look out for.
  • Make sure your child has enough medicine on hand during the school day.
  • Ask the school to store extra asthma inhalers or epinephrine injections, in case they are needed.
  • Provide written consent for your child’s school to contact your child’s doctor during an emergency.
  • Review your child’s emergency care plan every year, updating it as needed.
  • Immediately notify the school if contact information for you or your child’s doctor changes.

View a list of Floyd pediatricians and primary care physicians who treat children, and who can assist in drafting an emergency care plan.