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Asthma in School: August 06, 2011

With summer drawing a close, 9-year-old Andrew Konkus will soon be back at school and away from his mother. Andrew suffers from severe asthma.

“We started tracking patterns. Spring and fall are really bad for him, it affects him with sports, it affects him with being in school,” says Andrew’s mother Colleen Konkus.

Along with his school supplies, Andrew will carry a lot of responsibility with him.

“It’s scary as a parent because if he has an asthma attack due to his allergies and if he’s on the school bus, that worries me. So we do have paperwork filled out from his pediatrician to allow him to carry an inhaler at all times,” says Konkus.

Its estimate 7-million kids under the age of 18 have asthma and it counts for 13-million missed school days. If the condition is well managed, kids can go to school and parents can have a peace of mind.

“Every child that comes into the program we immediately contact the school nurse,” says Teresa Summe.

Teresa coordinates the Asthma Management Program for Lee Memorial Health System.

“The school nurse works with the teachers so that the child has the medication with them when they need it. We work with the PE coaches, whoever needs to be in the whole picture. We want the child to be comfortable,” says Summe.

Parents should also have an action plan to include: reinforcing their children’s medications and uses, making sure they know their triggers and early symptoms and what to do if they have a flare-up at school.

“We have children that will come in and they’re hiding in the restrooms, taking her medications or some haven’t even told the school nurses,” says Summe.

When it comes to asthma, knowledge is power.

“I just take off this cap, put my lips up to it,” says Andrew.

Something Andrew has already learned.