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Asthma, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is a chronic lung disease that inflames the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. The coughing often occurs at night or early in the morning.

Pennsylvania Pediatric Asthma Toolkit
This toolkit was developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Philadelphia Allies Against Asthma Coalition. The goal of the toolkit is to improve asthma education resources among community-based organizations, primary care providers, and schools. 

Asthma Action Plans

According to the latest Scope and Standards of Practice from the National Association of School Nurses and American Nurses Association, development of plans of care are a standard of nursing practice. Below are template plans which schools may adapt:

Is the Asthma Action Plan Working? This guideline will help parents and nurses to assess whether a student's asthma action plan is appropriate.

Use of Asthma Inhalers in Schools (Act 187 of 2004)
In order to ensure that a student has immediate availability to their asthma medication, the Pennsylvania legislature amended the Public School Code, Section 1414.1 (see excerpt below) requiring schools to develop policies that allow students to carry and self-administer their asthma medication, under certain conditions.

Pennsylvania Department of Health This webpage outlines the requirements of this law.    
Pennsylvania School Code, Section 1414.1 Possession and Use of Asthma Inhalers and Epinephrine Auto-injectors This section of the law was updated in 2010 to include epinephrine auto-injectors.   

Assessing a Child's Readiness to Carry and Use a Quick-Relief Inhaler This free interactive learning module, from the American Lung Association,  describes the barriers to access to asthma medication in schools as well as ways to overcome the barriers and assess a student's readiness to self- carry.                                                                 

Student Readiness Assessment Tool A standardized approach for determining a student's readiness to self-carry a quick-relief inhaler.

School Nurse Asthma Care Checklist  This resource provides a summary of best practices for the care of students with asthma in school. Available free-of-charge on the National Association of School Nurses website.

Checklist for School Districts Addressing the Needs of Students with Asthma Developed by the American Association of School Administrators, this checklist was developed to assist schools in the development of their policies and procedures relating to care of students with asthma. 
How Asthma Friendly is Your School? Developed by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, this checklist assists schools in evaluating how well they care for students with asthma. 
Managing Asthma in the School Environment This guide, provided by the EPA, offers valuable information for all school employees on how to identify and control environmental triggers commonly found in schools.  
Asthma Medication Assistance Programs The Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin has compiled a list of coupon offers and prescription assistance programs for the most commonly prescribed asthma medications.
Breathe Pennsylvania Non-profit organization whose mission is to help the members of the community better understand their lungs and stay healthy through educational programs and services.
     School Asthma Initiative (SAI) brings free education, materials and resources to families of children  with asthma.
     School Asthma Tool Kit provides spacers, peak flow meters, nebulizers and a back-up albuterol inhaler for each school nurse office. Schools must apply. 
Asthma Statistics

Public school entities are required to submit an annual report which includes aggregate totals for select chronic diseases, including asthma. Data is not available by age, grade, sex, race, or building level. This report contains county level data.

DISCLAIMER: Responsibility for data accuracy lies with the individual school entities. The Department specifically disclaims responsibility for any analyses, interpretations or conclusions made by the user.

Updated: July 17, 2016