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Parents, schools urged to have asthma action plan for students

Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. As students head back to school this month, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging parents and schools to have a plan to help students manage their asthma and stay in class.

An asthma action plan can help ensure children don’t miss important time in the classroom and even save a student’s life. Parents are encouraged to work with their child’s doctor to create a plan that lists daily treatment or medications and when they should be administered. The plan also should include details on how to handle worsening symptoms or attacks and guidelines on when a doctor should be called and when to go to the emergency room. Plans should be signed by a physician and kept on file at school.

“As someone with asthma, I’ve learned that the best way to prevent a severe attack is to recognize the symptoms and treat flare-ups quickly,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “I urge parents to partner with their child’s healthcare provider and school to identify asthma triggers and to complete an asthma action plan.”

Schools need to be aware of the students who have been diagnosed with asthma so they can make sure those students are receiving the necessary school health services, taking their medicines and learning to use them appropriately. Schools can help provide a safe and healthy environment for students by working with indoor air quality advisers to reduce asthma triggers and offering safe and enjoyable physical education and activities for students with asthma. Visit for more information.

Providing asthma education for students with asthma and awareness programs for students, school staff, parents and families can also help ensure students don’t lose vital instruction time. Each year, 10.5 million school days are missed due to asthma, and more than 441,000 instructional hours were lost in Indiana due to asthma in the 2011-2012 school year.

To learn more about asthma action plans, visit For more information and resources, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at or go to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website at

For important health information and updates, follow the Indiana State Department of Health on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

SOURCE: News release from Indiana State Department of Health