Asthmatic students

 The number of people with asthmatic symptoms continues to rise in this country and one in 10 students in Mississippi schools is likely to have asthma.

That’s the sobering report from Jennifer Cofer, executive director of the American Lung Association of Mississippi.

Fortunately, both our city and county school districts take a vigilant attitude toward students with potential breathing problems and are active in insuring that students who need inhalers or similar items have them close by during school classes, as well as extracurricular activities including field trips.

The New Albany School District even has created a comprehensive asthma education plan, the first district in the state to do so, according to Cofer.

“That plan includes educating students with asthma, educating teachers, and doing a walk through school facilities to determine if there are any asthma triggers,” she said.

Triggers can include pets, grass, dust mites and second-hand smoke, she said.

Tammie Reeder, school health coordinator in New Albany schools, said school nurses have done a good job of getting information out to parents of asthmatic students about the importance of having an asthma plan on file at school.

Teachers keep the inhalers in the classroom for very young students, she said, but older students are allowed to keep them in their pocket or backpack.

Becky Rowan, one of two school nurses in Union County schools, said the number of asthmatic students in county schools has increased this year and teachers always are aware of where students’ inhalers are and make sure they have them on field-trips or other activities outside the classroom.

Asthma is a life-long disease that cannot be cured, but it can be controlled. It is reassuring to know that school personnel are working to help students do the right thing to make sure it is a non-issue in our schools.