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Your Child's Asthma Action Plan at School

It's important to share your child's asthma action plan with his or her teacher and other school staff. If your child doesn't have an asthma action plan or it's not up-to-date, make sure you talk with his or her healthcare provider.

What's an asthma action plan?

This plan describes how to manage your child’s asthma. It includes information about your child's symptoms and medicines. It also includes instructions about managing symptoms and when to call a healthcare provider. You should review the action plan with your healthcare provider at least yearly. 

An asthma action plan generally covers these topics:

  • Medicines. Both controller (medicines you take every day no matter how you feel) and quick-relief medicines (medicines you take when you are experiencing symptoms) are covered. Instructions about when to take the medicines, based on symptoms or peak flow readings are included. 

  • Asthma symptoms and triggers.  Your child's asthma symptoms and what to do if they should happen are described. Triggers or those things that make your child’s asthma worse may also be listed.

  • Exercise and recess. The medicine and dose your child needs to take before recess, or exercise and activities your child needs to avoid, or special precautions to take, such as wearing a scarf or ski mask on cold days, or not exercising outdoors when pollen counts are high.

  • Emergency information. The name and phone number of your child’s healthcare provider. You should include emergency phone numbers and when to call the provider or emergency medical services. The plan should also include actions to take when symptoms are worsening or your child is not responding to treatment. 

Putting it all together

It’s a good idea to meet with your child's teachers and coaches, and other staff members at the start of each school year. Your child can be there, too. You may also need to meet at other times throughout the school year. Make sure you discuss the following:

  • Asthma action plan. Review the plan. Make sure teachers know how to use an inhaler, spacer, and peak flow meter. Make sure they understand the action plan zones and what to do. Discuss any school policies that affect your child’s asthma management. For instance, some schools allow kids to keep their quick-relief medicine with them in their bag or locker, but other schools keep medicines in the school office. Many states now have laws that require students be allowed to carry and take asthma medicines on their own. Discuss local policies with your healthcare provider. 

  • Triggers. If pet dander is a trigger, find out if animals, such as gerbils or hamsters, are kept in the classroom.

  • Special activities. For example, ask how medicine will be handled during field trips.

Medical Reviewers:

  • Adler, Liora C., MD
  • Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPH