Getting your kids back in school means summer has come to an end; it also means relinquishing control over what your little ones eat, touch, and come in contact with. That loss of control can make moms of kids with allergies or asthma very nervous.
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, back-to-school season is associated with a 46% increase in asthma-related emergency department visits by grade school children. And allergies and asthma account for more than 14 million school day absences.
In other words, you’re not wrong to be worried when your children step onto that yellow school bus. Dr. Richard Herrscher at AIR Care Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Care shares this top 10 list of back-to-school tips for parents of kids with allergies or asthma to help keep your kids safe and symptom-free for the entire school year.
1. Talk to your child’s educators
Before the school year starts, talk to the administrators to find out the school’s methods of addressing medical emergencies or administering medication. Does the school have an on-site nurse? Is there any paperwork you should provide ahead of time?
2. Keep your kids off the floor
Allergens like dust mites, mold, and pollen can collect and multiply in carpets where children sometimes enjoy reading or other activities. Teach your child to choose a chair, away from those allergen breeding grounds.
3. Ask teachers to keep the windows closed
By keeping the pollen and other allergens out, you keep your child symptom-free inside the classroom.
4. Stay away from class pets
Furry class pets like guinea pigs, hamsters, and gerbils sure are cute, but many can trigger allergy or asthma attacks. Advise your child to steer clear or suggest to the teacher that they adopt a non-furry mascot like a lizard, fish, or salamander.
5. Notify the school of any food allergies
Make sure all your child’s teachers are aware of any food allergies, so they, along with your child, can do their best to avoid trigger foods. Suggest an allergen-free snack policy.
6. Foster good hand washing habits
Make sure your child stays on top of their hand washing. Practicing a good hand washing policy keeps allergens away from the eyes, nose, and mouth, as well as helping to prevent the spread of germs.
7. Keep medications on hand
If your child requires allergy or asthma medication, such as inhalers, antihistamines, or an epinephrine injection, make sure the school has the right stuff — and that the nurse or teachers know how and when to use it.
8. Wear a medical alert bracelet
If your child is at risk of a severe allergic reaction or asthma attack, have them wear a sporty medical alert bracelet. While it’s not as charming as a charm bracelet, it can save your child’s life.
9. Watch the pollen count
If your little one has serious hay fever or environmental allergies, suggest that they find an indoor activity during recess on those days when the pollen count is high.
10. Pack a lunch
The best way to reduce your child’s risk of eating something they may be allergic to in the cafeteria is to pack a healthy lunch chock full of foods that won’t trigger allergy symptoms.
For more advice on minimizing your kids’ allergy and asthma attacks during the school year, call Dr. Richard Herrscher at AIR Care Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Care, with offices in Dallas and Plano, Texas, or make an appointment online.