By: Angelina Lombardi, M.D.
School will be back in session in a few weeks and with that comes a great deal of anticipation and preparation by parents and students alike. There are school supplies to buy, teachers to meet, clubs and activities to join, and new and old classmates to see. On top of this already hectic list of things to do, student who have allergies and asthma will also have additional concerns to deal with. Parents of younger students; as well as high school and college age students; should follow several important steps prior to the start of school year. The follow tips can insure a safe and successful year for all students.
- Whether you are attending elementary school or college, schedule a visit with your allergist prior to the start of school. It is a good idea to see your allergist so that an action plan can be set up for the New Year! During this visit your allergist will do several things:
- Evaluate your overall condition and progress.
- Formulate a plan for possible illnesses / exacerbations during the year.
- Discuss participation in PE and/or sports along with what type of pre-treatment may be needed.
- Refill all necessary prescriptions.
- Complete school medication administration and care plan forms. (Allow 48-72 hours to be completed)
- Become acquainted with the school nurse or college health clinic. This is important for several reasons:
- For younger and older students; healthcare personnel should be made aware of who you are what type of medical issues you have and what treatment you require.
- For younger students; it is necessary to drop off all completed forms along with new prescription(s) and explicit directions for medication administration/use.
- Discuss your student’s medical condition(s) with his/her teachers. It is important to familiarize teachers with your student’s triggers and symptoms, along with what plan of action should be followed preventatively and in case of emergency.
- Have a conversation with your child about his/her condition, including symptoms requiring attention, who to inform in the event of difficulties and possible foods to avoid, if necessary.
- Refill all prescriptions necessary while at school and take them to the school nurse in the original containers. If your child requires and Epipen; obtain 2 twin packs (1 twin pack for home and 1 twin pack for school).
- College age students with allergies and/or asthma: implement environmental control measures in your dorm room, similar to those implemented while living at home. For example: Clean your room weekly, avoid clutter, encase your mattress and pillows, use air condition rather than opening windows, have a HEPA filter running in bedroom.
FOLLOWING THESE SIMPLE TIPS CAN BE A GOOD START TO A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR!