It’s that time of year again: summer is winding down and school is starting back up. Regardless of how your little one feels about going back to school, it can be a nerve-racking for parents of kids with asthma.

back-to-school-with-asthmaNot being there to help them in an emergency is scary, so we’ve put together four crucial steps you should take to get prepared. Hopefully, these will help you breathe a little easier when that first bell rings.

  1. Identify the Triggers

“Know thy self, know thy enemy.” It may be a couple thousand years old, but it’s still great advice. What causes your child’s asthma attacks? Environmental factors like dust mites, animals, mold, pollen, and the weather often play a role, but stress and anxiety can also contribute. Zeroing in on your child’s triggers is key to putting together a solid defense.

  1. Make a Plan

Your kid can’t breathe. Quick – what do you do? The middle of an emergency isn’t the time for anyone to try to figure out how to respond. If you haven’t already, work with your doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan: a written, individualized worksheet that lists the steps to take to keep your child’s asthma from getting worse, and when to call for help. Wondering where to start? The American Lung Association has got you covered with this printable worksheet.

  1. Educate the Educators

One of the few upsides to asthma being so common among children is that many teachers and principals are already familiar with it. That doesn’t guarantee everyone is, though, and it doesn’t mean they know your child’s specific situation. Be sure to meet with your kid’s teachers to talk about triggers and go over the action plan. Show them each medication, device, and how to use it. This could be your child’s first responder, so make sure they understand what to do and why it’s important.

  1. Practice Makes Perfect

Just because you have a plan doesn’t mean you or your child should get too comfortable. Try a pop quiz every once in a while – when you’re in the car, finishing up with play, or maybe at the dinner table. It doesn’t have to be too intense. A simple question or two about what to do if they were having an asthma attack right now is fine. If an emergency comes up, you want your kid to know which medicine they need and exactly where it is, without having to think too hard.

What other tips do you have for parents or kids with asthma? Tell us about them in the comments and sign up to share your experiences with Health Stories Project!