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When Should Your Child with Asthma Stay Home from School?

Sometimes it's hard to know if a child with asthma should stay home or go to school or daycare.

Keep in mind every child is different, and you should talk to your child's health care provider about when your child needs to stay home from school. Be sure that your child's Asthma Action Plan tells you what to do if your child starts to have asthma symptoms.

  Send them to school if they are in the green zone.  

  Think about keeping your child home if they are in the yellow zone.  

If they:

  • have a fever over 100°F by mouth (101°F rectally), or if they feel flushed, hot and "achy."
  • have had a sleepless night due to asthma symptoms.
  • have symptoms of a respiratory infection, like a sore throat or productive cough, or swollen, painful neck glands.
  • appear to have trouble breathing; cannot speak a full sentence, or are breathing hard or fast.
  • have wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness which does not improve after taking quick-relief medicine or improves but gets worse again.
  • have a peak flow score below 80% of their personal best even after taking their quick-relief medicine. Parents should watch for good effort with peak flows.
  • appear weak or tired, and are not able to perform their normal activities.

If there is any doubt about whether to keep your child home or send him or her to school, call your child's doctor or asthma educator, and follow their advice.

  If your child is in the Red zone, follow your emergency plan. 

Compiled material from the experiences of asthma educators across the state of Michigan, 2001, and adapted from the Practical Guide for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma, NIH Publication No. 97-4053, October 1997, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute