Asthma And Self-Medication Of A Child

By Heather Legg

For many areas, school is gearing up to start back. Now that all 50 states have made it legal for kids to carry their own asthma medications, it is time to check their responsibility. For some, it may still be better for their teachers or school nurse to hang onto the medicine, but for many students, this can be something that can make a huge impact on not only their school day but also their health.

In an article on some recommendations are given to decide whether your child is ready or not carry his own medication:

Allergy & Asthma Network Mothers of Asthmatics (AANMA), the leading national nonprofit family organization for people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.
AANMA suggests using these questions to use as a guide to determine whether your child is ready to self-medicate:

• Does your child use an inhaler (preferably with a holding chamber) correctly at home?
• Does he know the name of his medication and when he is supposed to use it?
• Does he stay calm when having asthma symptoms?
• Does he tell you when he is having symptoms or when he has used the inhaler?
• Does he use a peak flow meter?
• Does your child carry his inhaler with him at all times?
• Does he understand that the inhaler is not a toy and should not be shared with friends?

• Is your child able to use auto-injectable epinephrine correctly without assistance?
• Does your child know what to do immediately after using the auto-injectable epinephrine? (The right answer is to tell an adult to take him to the hospital.)
• Does your child wear a medical identification tag or bracelet for use in emergency situations?
• Does he understand that auto-injectable epinephrine is not a toy and should not be shared with friends?

“Yes” answers indicate a ready and willing student. “No” answers represent an opportunity to teach your child new skills and bolster his confidence so that when the time comes (and it will come) to make a medical decision, he is more likely to make the right one.

Then there’s the question of maturity. Does your child demonstrate a responsible attitude and respect for his symptoms, his medications and the need to avoid situations that place him at risk?

Whether a childe will self medicate or still seek assistance is up to the parents. Just make sure he is comfortable in doing so as well as able, and a new set of positive responsibility will be part of those important growth steps.

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