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Actions for the Classroom Teacher

  • Lession Plans
  • Know which kids in your class have asthma.
  • Know the early warning signs of an asthma episode or attack.
  • Have a copy of the Asthma Action Plan in the classroom. Review it with the student and parents. Know what steps to take in case of an asthma attack.
  • Get forecasts and alerts for air quality and environmental issues to help you plan for outdoor activities.
  • Develop a clear procedure with the student and parent for handling schoolwork missed due to asthma.
  • Understand that a student with asthma may feel:
    • Drowsy or tired
    • Different from the other kids
    • Anxious about access to medications
    • Embarrassed about the disruption to school activities that asthma symptoms can cause
    • Withdrawn
  • 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.
  • Know the possible side effects of asthma medications and how they may impact the student’s performance in the classroom. Refer any problem to the school nurse or other appropriate school staff, and parent(s). Common side effects of medicine that warrant referral are nervousness, nausea, jitteriness, hyperactivity, and drowsiness.
  • Reduce known allergens in the classroom to help students who have allergies and asthma. Common allergens found in classrooms include chalk dust, animals, and strong odors (perfumes, paints).
  • Encourage the student with asthma to participate in physical activities, but make sure they follow proper precautions.
  • Allow a student to engage in quiet activity if recovery from an acute episode precludes full participation.
  • Control/cover chemicals and volatile materials used in science, art and other classes.
  • Avoid using pens, glue, and paints that emit irritating fumes. Explain the reason.
  • Plants are sources of mold growth; reduce the quantity of plants in a classroom.
  • Do not cover up any vents in the classroom. This prevents fresh air from circulating into the room.
  • The state of Michigan has a medication policy for schools that may be helpful.

Adapted from Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Fund for the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching, Office of Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education. September 1991. NIH Publication No. 91-2650.