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Celebrate Asthma Awareness Month!
Join NEA HIN in recognizing May as asthma awareness month! Read the joint statement on improving asthma management in schools that was spearheaded by the American Lung Association and supported by several health and school-based organizations including NEA HIN. To learn more about the statement and recommended best practices and strategies read the press release. Learn more about asthma awareness month at www.epa.gov/asthma.
Asthma is a leading chronic illness among children and youth in the U.S. and one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. In 2007, 5.6 million school-aged children and youth (5-17 years old) were reported to currently have asthma. In addition, teachers and custodians have been identified as having higher rates of occupational asthma.
The key elements needed for asthma control include:
- using a personal asthma action plan
- taking medicine properly - this includes daily long-term control medicines for many students
- avoiding or minimizing exposure to asthma triggers
- recognizing the early symptoms of asthma and taking the appropriate action (by students and staff).
Helping students manage their asthma is a team effort. All school staff need to be educated - classroom teachers, physical education teachers, counselors, paraprofessionals, school nurses, custodians, food service workers, bus drivers, coaches, security officers, administrators - and anyone else who interacts with students at school. By learning basic information about asthma, education professionals can help improve the lives of the students they care so much about.
To determine how well your school accommodates students with asthma, see the "How Asthma-Friendly is Your School?" checklist which was created by the National Asthma Education Prevention Program. The checklist can help parents, school staff, administrators and other school stakeholders determine if the eight asthma-friendly components are being implemented in their school or school district.
The asthma-friendly components address:
- asthma action plans
- tobacco smoke policies
- policies that allow students to self-medicate and carry asthma medications
- written emergency plans
- full-time school nurses
- asthma education for staff and students
- physical activity
- good indoor air quality.
Asthma Triggers and Indoor Environmental Quality
Many of the common asthma triggers such as dust mites, mold, and cockroach body parts and feces can be found in the indoor environment so it is critical to ensure that your school has superior indoor environmental quality. Learn more
NEA, NEA HIN, and the Merck Childhood Asthma Network are pleased to offer a free, 1.5 hour online training on asthma as part of NEA's Online Academy. Managing Asthma in the School Environment: What NEA Members Need to Know will educate NEA members and other school stakeholders about asthma so that they can help students better manage their asthma while at school. Learn more