Brooks, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, says medications that control chronic asthma are often neglected during the summer because children feel better. Although there are no overt symptoms, young people may be experiencing a decline in lung function, he warns.
“If you’ve taken a holiday from regular medications, get back on them,” he says. “When school starts, we see a lot of respiratory viruses and a fair number of hospitalizations. Fall is the worst time for asthma.”
San Antonio’s school districts have an asthma action plan that is standardized across campuses. This initiative, which has drawn praise from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls for school nurses to have a pediatrician’s instructions on hand for both regular treatment of asthma and in the event of an emergency. Parents are urged to see their pediatricians and file an asthma action plan with their child’s school.
Allergies also come into bloom with the school year. If children have severe allergies known as anaphylaxis, it is recommended that the school nurse have an up-to-date EpiPen® on hand. This device, also known by other trade names, injects epinephrine to stop life-threatening allergic responses to insect stings, food, medications and other sources. “If your child needs this prescription and doesn’t have one, be sure to get it now,” Dr. Brooks says.
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