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Asthma at school is disruptive to routine underdiagnosed, often poorly understood, survey suggest

New York, NY -- According to a national sample of members surveyed from the National Association of School Nurses, asthma is more disruptive of school routines than any other chronic condition, has a significant impact on absenteeism and many school staff may lack awareness of the causes of an asthma attack. The NASN and the American Lung Association are working together to improve communications between parents, school nurses and health care professionals in an effort that may help reduce the number of asthma episodes or attacks children experience each year.

Results from the Asthma in Schools survey suggest that an overwhelming majority (85%) of school nurses believe that there are students with undiagnosed asthma in their schools. More than half found asthma more disruptive to the student body routine than any other chronic health condition, with more than a third of nurses having to respond to an acute asthma attack or episode at least 11 times in the last school year.

"We recognize the damage that can be done to the education process when 14 million school days are lost annually due to asthma," said Dorothy Reilly, RN of the National Association of School Nurses. "This survey suggests that when it comes to asthma management as it impacts a child's educational experience, there is definite room for improvement."

Asthma is a serious illness, affecting more than 5.2 million school-aged children, according to the American Lung Association. However, with proper treatment and preventative care, it is very controllable, particularly if parents take an active role. Although more than half of nurses reported that parents routinely update them at regular intervals about children with asthma in their care, still 43% said parents rarely provide updates about their children's condition.

"Communication is critical. The key is to have an Asthma Action Plan developed by the child's physician and parents and shared with the school nurse
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10-Sep-2003


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