Asthma: Treating Attacks

For the more than 6 million children who suffer from asthma in the United States, the back-to-school season is one of the toughest times of the year. The sudden exposure to allergens and contagious colds and viruses in the classroom often trigger attacks and a spike in hospitalizations each fall.

The American Lung Association (ALA) thinks that could change if more kids were able to control asthma through medication and management plans. The group is urging parents to work with a physician to create a written back-to-school plan that includes individualized information about the child's particular symptoms, attack triggers, daily medications, rescue inhaler (to be used if an attack has started), limitations on physical activity and specific instructions about what to do and whom to call if a child has an attack at school. The plan should be shared with the school nurse, administrator and the child's teachers. "This really has to be a collaboration," says Dr. Norman H. Edelman, the ALA's chief medical officer. For more information or to download an action-plan form, go to