The Utah Asthma Coalition met with the Logan City School District Board of Education on Tuesday to propose changes to ensure that students with asthma receive proper treatment.
Jeffrey Bennion, an ears, nose and throat doctor in Logan, spoke on behalf of the coalition to the board. He presented several proposals that the board will vote on at the next meeting on Feb. 24. The proposals included the following:
- Educating teachers on proper emergency interventions like how to use an inhaler or an epinephrine pen.
- Conducting asthma clinics to screen children for asthma and help them get proper care.
- Requiring that students identify themselves as having asthma or not at the time of school registration.
- Educating teachers on the signs of asthma so they can identify children with symptoms and help them arrange for a doctor’s screening.
Bennion highlighted the size of the nation’s asthma problem, citing statistics showing that one in 10 kids have the disease. Of those kids, 50 percent miss school at least one time a year.
“It’s a relatively significant problem for kids,” he added.
The purpose of the coalition is to work with the health care and education communities to identify and help patients and their families manage asthma.
Bennion explained that last year in the United States, 2 million kids ended up in the ICU because of asthma and 5 million went to an emergency room. However, only 27 percent of asthmatics receive adequate care. This is due to several factors, he said, including not knowing if someone has asthma, the cost of treatment, failure to understand treatment and failure to comply with treatment.
Bennion said he hoped that by working with the school system, asthmatic kids will be able to live better lives.
“The problem with chronic illness, and doctors get pretty frustrated with this, is people expect a cure. People think that if they have a disease, there should be a cure. They get angry if that is not the case,” Bennion said. “With asthma, that is not the case. Kids need to learn to manage the disease, and we want to help them to do that.”