Destiny N. Henning (she/her/hers)
University of Chicago Division of the Biological Sciences The Pritzker School of Medicine
Chicago, Illinois, United States
A total of 603 asthma-related health incident reports were made across 337 schools between 2012-2018. Reported asthma-related incidents decreased by 31.4% from the 2012 to 2018 school years. A majority of reported incidents occurred in K-8 schools (70.5%). When triggers were reported (n=307), the most common was physical activity (28.2%).
For outcomes, 65.6% of incidents resulted in an emergency intervention, meaning an ambulance arrived or the individual went to the emergency department. A guardian was informed or intervened in 42.8% of incidents reported. Medication was administered during 41.6% of incidents, but fewer than half of students had documented medication at school at the time of the incident. Only 20.4% of children with an incident reported had an asthma diagnosis on file with the school.
Conclusion(s): It is crucial to support proper asthma management in schools, where children spend a large proportion of time. We found asthma-related health incidents in schools varied widely in their onset and outcomes. A majority of incidents escalated to emergency interventions suggesting schools may be unable adequately manage asthma symptoms. Also, awareness of students’ diagnoses or medications may be limited at some schools, making management challenging. Study limitations include the non-standard reporting system across schools. The prevalence of reports resulting in emergency intervention suggests minor asthma incidents that do not escalate may not be reported. Future work should include advocacy for health incident reporting guidelines in schools.