When children go back to school this fall, it will not be a breath of fresh air for some.

“Asthma is very common. In the last several years there’s been a 75% increase in asthma. In classrooms or daycares or schools nationally, 3 of every 30 kids have asthma,” says Teresa Summe, asthma management coordinator with Lee Memorial Health System.

Asthma is at the head of its class, but hardly the teacher’s pet. As chronic illnesses go, it is tops in terms of keeping children home from school.

“There are so many kids that go around with asthma,” says Summe.

Teresa Summe coordinates Lee Memorial Health System’s asthma management program.

“You never know when that asthma attack is going to happen. And it could be minor or severe and life threatening,” says Summe.

The better-controlled asthma, the less likely it results in absentees. In children ages 8-11, it means homework for parents-creating an action plan. That should cover: their medications, their triggers and what to do if they have an attack 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.

It’s important to communicate with school officials and make sure they have a copy of the asthma action plan. These elementary steps may go a long way in clearing the air.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we’ve been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

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