Asthma can make you feel like an elephant is sitting on your chest. A child will have a hard time breathing during an asthma attack and will cough frequently, gasping for air. Three things happen during an asthma attack: the walls of the airways in the lungs start to swell; the airways produce more mucus; and the muscles of the airways suddenly tighten like a rubber band. All of these things make the airways smaller and more difficult to breathe.
There are some great books available to help your child understand asthma. They are also useful for school age children to share with their classes so they don't feel so "different."
|The ABC's of Asthma|
|You're On Your Way, Teddy Roosevelt|
|What's Up With Max?|
This year, I learned that every child with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan filed at the school. The plan is similar to a 504 plan for allergies, as it has to detail early signs of an attack, when to call a doctor, and it is individualized for your child. I gave one copy to the school nurse and another copy to my son's teacher, just to cover all the bases.
Jonah does not keep a rescue inhaler with him, but again, I have one with the school nurse and one with his teacher. Unfortunately, at most elementary schools in our district, the nurse does not stay at the school every day. Our nurse is only at our school for 2 days a week. The rest of the week, all the meds are kept in the school office. That is why I chose to give his teacher another copy of his Asthma Action Plan and another inhaler. She also has an extra EpiPen Jr., Benadryl, and ointments for his skin. Better to be safe than sorry, right??