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Asthma affects up to one in four children and one in seven adolescents. It is important for teachers and staff to be aware of the symptoms, triggers and the management of asthma in the school environment. Asthma is the most common reason for school non-attendance and hospital admission in school age
children. Teachers also need to be aware of exercise-induced asthma and the procedures for managing this
To manage asthma and asthma sufferers as effectively and efficiently as possible at school. To teach children to be responsible for their asthma, its triggers and medication at all times. OUTCOMES
To ensure all teachers and staff have knowledge about - asthma, its triggers and symptoms; and how to manage students who suffer from asthma in the school environment; To identify all children in the school who suffer from asthma, the extent to which they suffer, what causes the asthma and treatment required. To know the physical capabilities of asthma sufferers and ensure they are not over-extended. To ensure all asthmatic children have access to asthma relievers at all times especially prior to or IMPLEMENTATION
1. At enrolment and the beginning of each school year parents will provide the school with any
medication advice, especially asthma information. In relation to asthma, parents will be required to
the extent to which the child suffers from asthma the availability of medication for children's use at school 2. A list of asthma sufferers will be drawn up and all staff and teachers made aware of those students.
3. Individual students’ Asthma plans wil be attached to the student’s record card for reference and a copy
kept in confidential files in the office and staffroom. 4. If a child does not have an Asthma management plan form a health professional, staff will follow the
Asthma First Aid Plan (Attachment 1), which has been agreed to, by NSW DET and Asthma NSW.
5. Professional development will be provided for all staff on triggers, symptoms, prevention and
treatment of asthma attacks. Staff and teachers will be requested to make themselves familiar with the school Asthma policy and Asthma First Aid Plan. Every 2 years the Asthma Educator from CHW
6. The school will provide reliever puffers (Ventolin) and cardboard spacer devices in all first-aid kit for
emergencies, including kits on excursions and camps. Staff will be trained in the administration of these medications, including steps to be taken to treat moderate and severe asthma attacks. 7. Information relating to the school’s Asthma First Aid Plan will be displayed on walls in staffroom and
first aid area and a copy in first aid kits. 8. Parents will be contacted whenever their child has an asthma attack at school (no matter how serious).
9. Students wil be expected to have their medication, spacers etc with them at al times.
This policy will be reviewed after any school staff Asthma training sessions. ASTHMA POLICY
ASTHMA – SOME INFORMATION
What is asthma?
People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs. When they are exposed to certain triggers, their airways narrow, making it hard for them to breathe.
There are two main factors that cause the airways to become narrow: 1. The inside lining of the airways becomes red and swol en (inflammation) and extra mucus (sticky fluid) may be 2. The muscle around the airways tightens (broncho-constriction).
What triggers asthma symptoms?
Inhaled al ergens - e.g. pol ens, moulds, animal hair and dust mites Certain medications (e.g. aspirin and some blood pressure medications) Some foods and food preservatives, flavourings and colourings Some occupations (e.g. baking, carpentry) In some people it can be difficult to know what triggers asthma!
Is al asthma the same?
Asthma is different in different people. Asthma may be mild, moderate, severe, episodic or persistent. The differences might be: How often symptoms are present; The severity of asthma attacks; The amount and frequency of medication required. A student with mild or moderate asthma may have a severe attack if his/her asthma is not wel
Symptoms wil vary according to the severity of the attack.
What are the main symptoms of asthma?
There are three main groups of asthma medications: Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children have an adequate supply of the appropriate medication at 1. Preventers
Inhalers: Becloforte, Becotide, Flixotide, Intal, Intal Forte, Pulmicort, Qvar, Respocort, and Tilade (usual y in white or Preventer medication helps reduce and prevent the inflammation in the lining of the airways. Students with moderate to severe asthma may need to take medication daily (usual y morning and evening). These 2. Relievers
Inhalers: Airomir, Asmol, Bricanyl and Ventolin (usually in blue containers). Reliever medications are used to relieve asthma symptoms. They relax the muscles around the airways for up to four Al students with asthma should carry their blue reliever medication at school. In an asthma emergency always use a blue reliever medication, with a spacer if available.
3. Symptom Controllers
Inhalers: Foradile, Oxis and Serevent (usual y green in colour). In addition to relievers and preventers, the doctor may prescribe symptom control ers (also known as long-acting relievers). Symptom control ers help to relax the muscles around the airways for up to 12 hours. ASTHMA POLICY
Seretide is a combination medication which contains a preventer (Flixotide) and a symptom controller (Serevent) in The student usual y takes these medications at home.
Can students with asthma exercise?
Exercise is important for health and development. Students with asthma should be encouraged to be active. With good management most students with asthma can exercise normal y. Any sporting activity is suitable for students with asthma. However swimming is an activity less likely to trigger exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Endurance exercise e.g. cross-country running may trigger an asthma attack. Exercise induced asthma (EIA)
Exercise is a very common trigger for asthma. However, as exercise and sport is part of healthy living, it is one trigger that should be managed and not avoided. Frequent asthma symptoms while exercising may suggest that asthma is not wel managed.
What causes EIA)?
At rest you breathe through your nose. The nose warms and moistens the air. When you exercise you tend to breathe faster and through your mouth. The mechanism in the mouth to warm and moisten the air is less effective than that in the nose. This means that colder, drier air reaches the bronchioles causing water loss and cooling. This is thought to irritate and tighten the airways of people with asthma. In many instances, symptoms occur soon after the completion of the exercise during the “cooling down” period, rather than during the exercise.
How to prevent EIA at school
Make sure a child’s day to day asthma is under control Encourage them to have their own written Asthma Action Plan. An Asthma Action Plan gives step by step Ensure that the child uses their blue inhaler (puffer) such as Airomir, Asmol, Bricanyl, or Ventolin, 5-10 minutes BEFORE they warm up. These medications are commonly known as relievers. Intal, Intal Forte and Tilade are preventer medications and may also be used to help manage EIA. Ensure the child ALWAYS WARMS UP before any sport or exercise. A warm-up consists of 15-20 minutes of light, intermittent exercises and stretching. Children should always COOL DOWN fol owing sport or exercise.
What if a child experiences asthma symptoms during sport or exercise?
Get them to take 4 separate puffs of their blue reliever inhaler (or the school’s Ventolin) with a spacer if They should restart exercise only if they can breathe easily and are free of symptoms. If symptoms do not go away immediately, or if they return when they start exercising again, they should: use their blue reliever inhaler as before and not return to any exercise for the rest of the day.
How can students with poorly control ed asthma be recognised?
Frequent absenteeism from school due to asthma Regular/prolonged use of reliever medication for symptoms of asthma Unable to exercise or play sport due to asthma. If you recognise a student who may have poorly control ed asthma, consider informing the parents so they
What if it is the first attack of asthma?
Whether or not the student is known to have asthma, no harm is likely to result from giving reliever medication to someone without asthma. If you think the student may be having an asthma attack fol ow steps 1-4 of school Asthma Action Plan and cal an
ASTHMA FIRST AID PLAN
Asthma first aid plan
How to assess an asthma attack
Sit student upright, remain calm and provide Cough
DO NOT LEAVE STUDENT ALONE
Minor difficulty breathing
No difficulty speaking in sentences
Give 4 puffs of Ventolin through a spacer – ( puff,
4 breaths, 1 puff, 4 breaths, …. )
Obvious difficulty breathing
Able to speak in short sentences only
Wait 4 minutes
Severe Attack (dial 000 for an ambulance)
Very distressed and anxious
Gasping for breath
Unable to speak more than a few words in 1
Little or no improvement repeat STEPS 2 and 3
Little or no improvement cal ambulance –
Pale and sweaty / May have blue lips
continue to repeat STEPS 2 and 3 until medical
Notify parent of ACTION taken for any child given ASTHMA POLICY
CLEANING SPACERS and PUFFERS after use.
The Spacer and the plastic casing of the puffer should be washed
after each use in warm soapy water and left to air dry.
Do not rinse or wipe dry.
Before re-use wipe mouthpieces with an alcohol wipe.
Never re-use a spacer which has come into contact with BLOOD.
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