Asthma is one of the leading causes of school absenteeism. On average, in a classroom of 30 children, about three are likely to have asthma. Low-income populations, minorities, and children living in inner cities experience more emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths due to asthma than the general population.
When children and adolescents are exposed to things in the environment—such as dust mites, and tobacco smoke—an asthma attack can occur. These are called asthma triggers.
Asthma-friendly schools are those that make the effort to create safe and supportive learning environments for students with asthma. They have policies and procedures that allow students to successfully manage their asthma.
To Find Out More
- MedlinePlus Asthma Overview
- MedlinePlus Asthma Tutorial
- National Asthma Control Initiative
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- National Asthma Education and Prevention Program National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Information Center 301–251–1222
- NAEPP School Materials
- Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America 800–727–8462
Asthma and Physical Activity
Exercise-induced asthma is triggered by physical activity. Vigorous exercise will cause symptoms for most students who have asthma if their asthma is not well-controlled. Some students experience asthma symptoms only when they exercise. However, proper asthma treatment will prevent exercise-induced asthma and help students participate vigorously in any activities the student chooses.
Asthma varies from student to student and often from season to season or even day by day. Students who have asthma should have a written asthma plan and appropriate medicine at school to prevent symptoms. At times, physical activity programs for these students may need to be temporarily modified, such as by varying the type, intensity, duration, and/or frequency of activity. At all times, students who have asthma should be included in activities as much as possible. Remaining behind in the gym or library or frequently sitting on the bench can set the stage for teasing, loss of self-esteem, unnecessary restriction of activity, and low levels of physical fitness.