here to view the Asthma Emergency Guide
for Schools in English
Click here to view the Asthma Emergency Guide for Schools in Spanish
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For preschool age children, see the Asthma Emergency Guide for Preschools.
The Asthma Emergency Guide (AEG) identifies
students who need emergency care and immediate
transport (911) to a medical facility. Timely
care will reduce the seriousness of asthma episodes
and the number of hospitalizations, now 200,000
annually, for childhood asthma.
nurses can use the Asthma Emergency Guide (AEG)
to teach school staff how to identify students
with a life threatening asthma emergency. Equally
important, the AEG identifies children with
urgent problems who need medical attention within
two hours. The staff will be able to arrange
transport before the problem becomes life threatening.
Therefore, safety demands that schools have
a simple emergency guide that covers all children.
need for urgent care is based on the quantitative
assessment of three common signs of asthma:
cough, wheeze and retractions. A total score
of nine or higher calls for transport within two
hours. Retractions are heavily weighted because
cough and wheeze may be absent or minimal in
a seriously ill child.
signs can be scored by an observer, whereas
symptoms, such as tight chest and shortness
of breath, rely on the patient’s report.
Health professionals in five practices were
able to teach the scoring of these signs to
parents in less than five minutes. After that,
they validated the parents’ ability to score
these signs accurately.
peak flow score is also a very useful measure
of severity. It is included, but not essential
to the guide.
AEG helps school staff make decisions that lead
to timely and proper use of emergency facilities.
It is not a substitute for individual action
plans on file with the school nurse. Nurses
in the Early Childhood Education program of
Chicago Public Schools developed the original
version of the AEG. They have used it in individual
contacts and workshops for 2,500 parents, teachers
and aides and posted it in 330 schools. The
use of the guide has led to appropriate transfer
of children and better asthma care for parents,
staff and their children.
Boldt, BSN RN, Christine Ferraro, BSN RN and
Frances Belmonte-Mann, MA.RN developed the original