Metro-East News

Belleville schools already prepared for asthma emergencies

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Most people think that a bit of summer rain might help alleviate allergies by washing away pollen and mold, but sometimes violent thunderstorms can actually aggravate allergy or asthma symptoms. A doctor discusses a phenomenon known as thunderstor
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Most people think that a bit of summer rain might help alleviate allergies by washing away pollen and mold, but sometimes violent thunderstorms can actually aggravate allergy or asthma symptoms. A doctor discusses a phenomenon known as thunderstor

At least two area school districts were already prepared for a new law that requires districts to have a plan in place for asthma emergencies, superintendents say.

Superintendent Jeff Dosier says the schools in Belleville Township High School District 201, including Belleville West and Belleville East, already have a plan in place for students with the chronic illness that restricts airways in the lungs. Belleville District 118 Superintendent Matt Klosterman says his schools were also prepared, but have adjusted to meet the new rule’s requirements.

“I think it’s something that’s necessary,” said Dosier, whose 18-year-old daughter suffers from asthma.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law in August, and it went into effect Jan. 1. The law requires students with asthma to have a written plan from their doctor, the Associated Press reports. Students in District 201 are already required to have an “action plan” on file at school. Each student with asthma must also have an extra inhaler or necessary medication on-hand at the nurse’s office.

It’s common sense legislation for students and schools to be prepared for an asthma emergency, Dosier said. He speaks from experience, having helped his daughter cope with asthma since she was a young child.

“When your child has a significant asthma attack, you totally understand why there’s a need for these kinds of precautions,” Dosier said. “When they’re having difficulty breathing, the look on their face, the tension that puts on their bodies is something you don’t want them to have to go through a second time.”

The superintendent of District 118 says his staff have worked to improve communication between families, physicians and school nurses.

“With the variety of medical issues our students have, it has never been more critical we have a good line of communication open between the three,” Klosterman said.

District 118 staff undergo training at the beginning of each year, and how to respond to an asthma emergency is one of the topics covered. An “action plan” from physicians helps ensure “everyone is on the same page,” Kloterman added.

More than 76 percent of children who suffer from asthma don’t have their disease under control, according to the Illinois Asthma Consortium, and 14 percent of children suffer from asthma.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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