With laws passed in all 50 states allowing students to carry and use their asthma medication at school, RTs can help parents determine whether their child is ready to self-medicate when they return to school this fall. The Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA) recommends that parents answer the following questions to determine whether their child is ready:

  • Does your child use an inhaler (preferably with a holding chamber) correctly at home?
  • Does your child know the name of his medication and when is supposed to use it?
  • Does your child stay calm when having asthma symptoms?
  • Does your child tell you when he is having symptoms or when he has used the inhaler?
  • Does your child use a peak flow meter?
  • Does your child carry his inhaler with him at all times?
  • Does your child understand that the inhaler is not a toy and should not be shared with friends?

“Yes” answers indicate a ready and willing student, according to the AANMA. “No” answers should be taken as an opportunity for RTs to work with the child to teach him new skills and bolster his confidence so that when the times comes to make a medical decision, he is more likely to make the right one.

Respiratory therapistss and parents also should question the child’s maturity, examining whether the child demonstrates a responsible attitude and respect for his symptoms, his medications, and the need to avoid situations that place him at risk.

Most schools require permission from the student’s physician, saying they are ready to take charge of their treatment and a written asthma action plan. Students who self-manage symptoms must be willing to notify teachers, the school nurse, or designated administrator when they need to use their inhalers to treat symptoms. They also must be willing to tell their parents about all medication use or symptoms experienced while away from home.

Source: Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics