School's Out! Don't Leave Your Inhalers There!

Ah, summer!

School's out and summer has started

The youngest just graduated from high school, which means no more dealing with public school. Like many parents of kids in public school, our three kids always kept an inhaler at school in their backpack. And my middle son had such severe asthma that we also kept an extra nebulizer at school for him too.

He would get so sick, so fast - and only a nebulizer would work for him.

Some families don't realize that kids can carry their asthma inhalers with them at all times - even in public school. But only if they have the proper form filled out every year.

How does that work if schools are "drug-free zones"? Well, every state in the U.S. has laws on the books that allow students to carry their asthma inhalers with them - at all times.

American Lung Association says:

"When children with asthma attend school, their safety and management of asthma becomes a shared responsibility of the family, their asthma care provider, and the school personnel. Although all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed a law allowing students to carry and use inhalers at school, some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day."

Why are kids denied access to their inhaler? Maybe they don't have their medication form filled out, or maybe the school nurse or teacher doesn't understand the law (I've heard all sorts of interesting stories....).

How do you make sure your kids can carry their inhalers at all times?

Every state is a little different, so check with your school nurse. For us, that meant filling out a "Self Administration Form" every summer. Our form is a dual Asthma Action Plan/permission form that allows students to legally self-carry their inhaler and use it.

Asthma Doc would fill out a new form before school started each school year. Then he and I would sign it, and then I (or Asthma Doc's office) would send it to the school nurse. She would sign it, then makes sure she had a copy as well as the kid's teachers.

How do you know if your child is ready to self-carry and use their inhaler? You can try American Lung Association's "Self Readiness Assessment Tool."

It can also help parents who think, "My kid can do anything!", but sometimes they just aren't ready.

Our kids learned to use inhalers and nebulizers when they were very young. It's second nature around here!

Other families, not so much. I've heard of kids goofing off with their inhaler (spraying it and jumping in the air to sniff it). Squirting it at their friends, etc.

You decide what's right for your kids

For us, it was important for my daughter to always carry her inhaler in case she had an asthma attack during soccer practice, a track meet, or cross country meet. Since she has exercise-induced asthma, chances were pretty good that she was going to have problems while she trained and competed.

So, now that school is out, I had her dump out her backpack. That's one of those moments as a parent when you think, "How long has THAT been in there?!" or, "So that's where my gum and lip balm went!".

While you're at it, check for their asthma inhalers. You may want to make sure the inhaler made it home at the end of the school year. If you can't find it, ask the school nurse or your child's teacher.

After all, that's not something you want to be without!

Now, where to put the rest of the junk from her backpack....

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