Asthma affects over half a million children in Canada and is the leading cause of school absences. For Canadian children, asthma is the most common long-term respiratory disease and accounts for more hospitalizations than any other chronic illness. In particular, exercise-induced asthma symptoms are common among children, adolescents, and young adults. Because some children with exercise-induces asthma tend to avoid play, parents and teachers sometimes never realize the student is experiencing symptoms during exercise.
Parents and school staff need to work together to help control asthma symptoms for all students with asthma. Children with asthma often have symptoms at school; therefore it is very important to get the school involved in caring for a child’s asthma. This is true even if the child has only a mild case of asthma and even for children who do not need to take medicines when they are at school. Most schools have several children with asthma, and so many teachers and principals may be very familiar with helping children with asthma. Still, it is important to take steps to ensure that students receive appropriate attention and that all the relevant school personnel are familiar with what is needed to help each child.