Four million children had at least one bronchial asthma attack (BAA) in the year of 2001. BAA is increasing steadily in children under 18 yrs of age and is the leading cause of school absenteeism.
A survey (S) was conducted in Nassau County (NY) Public Schools (NCPS) to determine the prevalence of bronchial asthma and BAA, management of BAA, asthma education (AE), and use of indoor air quality tools (IAQ).
A 21 question S was sent to the school nurses (N) at all NCPS. The results were then tabulated.
Of 277 NCPS, 89 (32%) returned the S. Nine percent of students have asthma and 10% of them develop BAA in school. BAA is managed in the school by giving children medications (nebulized in 88%), calling 911 and informing parents. In 39 (73%) schools only nurses are allowed to give emergency medications. Students take their own medications during after school activities in case of BAA. An asthma action card is used in 43 (48%) of schools and AE is available in 19% of schools. A specific curriclum for asthma education is used in 9 schools and the AE is given by N. “Open airways” program is used by 74% of schools and indoor air quality tools are used in 20% of schools. Pets are allowed in 43 (48%)(mostly elementary) schools.CONCLUSIONS: 1) Acute asthma attack is not uncommon during school hours. 2) Asthma education in schools need to be improved. 3) Open airways and indoor air quality tools should be used more widely in schools. 4) Emergency asthma management should be taught to other school personnel besides the nurses.CLINICAL IMPLICATION: Improvement in asthma education and adopting programs like the open airways program and indoor air quality tools may decrease the incidence of acute asthma attacks in schools.
L. George, None.