New CDC Report Proposes Strategies to Help Schools Manage Asthma
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines six strategies to help the nation's schools manage the problems of students with asthma. The guide, Strategies for Addressing Asthma Within a Coordinated School Health Program, gives concrete suggestions for schools coping with the increasing numbers of children with asthma.
The prevalence of asthma, a serious respiratory condition, increased 74 percent among children 5 to 14 years old between 1980 and 1994. Asthma accounts for 14 million lost days of school each year and affects nearly five million children and adolescents.
"Schools have an important role in helping students with asthma by adopting 'asthma-friendly' policies and procedures," said Lloyd Kolbe, Ph.D., director of CDC's adolescent and school health program. "Schools can also coordinate their services for students with asthma and provide asthma education for students and staff."
The six strategies described in the report for promoting asthma-friendly schools are:
Establish appropriate management and support systems
Provide appropriate health and mental health services for students with asthma
Offer a safe and healthy school environment to reduce asthma "triggers"
Provide asthma education and awareness programs for students and staff
Establish safe, enjoyable physical education and activity opportunities for students with asthma
Coordinate school, family and community efforts to manage asthma symptoms and reduce absences.
"Although asthma cannot be cured, it can be controlled," said Sarah Merkle, M.P.H., a health scientist specializing in adolescent and school health concerns. "This report offers suggested actions that schools can take to provide more support to students and staff with asthma. Each school should decide which strategies have the highest priority."
The report on strategies for addressing asthma was developed and reviewed by representatives from 33 collaborating organizations, including CDC's environmental health program, the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Education.
The report, which also lists resources available to schools, can be viewed or downloaded at www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/healthtopics/asthma. Copies can also be obtained by calling CDC at 888-231-6405 or sending an e-mail to HealthYouth@cdc.gov. For more information about CDC's National Asthma Control Program, visit www.cdc.gov/asthma.
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