WARNER ROBINS, Ga. -- Kids with asthma playing in recess or P.E. could be a huge health concern for parents. The Center for Disease Control reports 6.1 million kids under the age of 18 have asthma.
But for parents, there are ways you can prepare.
Doctor Rahul Vangala with the Allergy and Asthma Center in middle Georgia says it's crucial that you send your child to school prepared for the worst.
“It’s a lose-lose situation,” he said.
Like many 8-year-old kids, Shya Petties’ son Jayden Bryant loves to play video games. But he would rather spend his time playing outside.
“He loves soccer," Petties said. "That’s his thing. But because of his asthma and him getting tired quickly, he'll go outside and play for a little -- but then he'll come back in.”
Jayden takes his inhaler wherever he goes, because being without it -- especially in the heat -- can be dangerous.
Petties says sometimes all it takes it just standing in the heat to trigger an asthma attack.
“He ended up having an asthma attack there and we had to be transported to the Medical Center to get that under control," she said. "He was on oxygen for a couple of hours. "
During recess or P.E., Warner Robins Parkwood Elementary School employees -- where Jayden attend's third grade -- understands the warning the signs.
“They know that he gets tired and overheated quickly, so they'll let him take a break or they'll call me,” Petties said.
Petties says she wants her son to do anything he sets his mind to -- like playing sports outside. But his safety comes first.
“I want you to do this, but I know that I have to be careful," she said. "Because I don't want anything to happen to you."
Doctor Vangala says the best way to prepare your child for the school day is by making sure his inhaler and medication is packed. And before any physical activity, medications should be taken at least 20 minutes prior to playing.
As for Petties, she says if it means limiting her son's activity to keep him safe, she's prepared to make that decision.
"I’d rather keep you a little sheltered than have to deal with you being in the hospital every other day,” she says.
Stephanie Hartley with the Bibb School District says the administration is working to invite parents to use an online portal called "Care Dox" to keep school nurses better informed on their children's medical needs. We have the link for you here. Parents just have to login to "Care Dox" to access it.