Actions for Guidance Counselors

  • Be a resource and point of contact to help all school personnel understand that asthma is not an emotional or psychological disease – it is not "all in the child's head." Strong emotions such as laughing or crying can trigger an acute episode because this irritates and constricts the sensitive airways of a person with asthma.

  • Recognize that learning to cope with asthma, as with any chronic illness, can be difficult. Teachers may notice low self-esteem, withdrawal from activities, discouragement over the steps needed to control asthma, or difficulty making up schoolwork. Special counseling with the student and/or parents may help the student handle problems more effectively.

  • Help the student feel more comfortable by recognizing feelings. Try to maintain confidentiality. Educate classmates about asthma so they will be more understanding and know when to get help from an adult. If you need help talking about asthma, contact your school nurse, local asthma coalition or regional American Lung Association of Michigan office.

  • Counseling potentially pregnant students: relay the extra need at this time for good medical care of her asthma, as well as the baby's development.

  • Assist students with asthma to factor avoidance in career and campus decisions:
    • Vocational/technical track: many fumes, vapors, dusts may aggravate lung disease (examples: soldering, grain dusts, animal danders, detergent enzymes, wood dusts, chloride, diisocyantes, products of heated adhesives, second hand smoke)
    • College track: some areas have pollens, molds, dampness, air pollution levels etc that can aggravate lung disease (examples: foggy area with pine forests). A few overnight visits to the preferred campus may be wise.