Most States Lag on Policies to Protect Kids with Asthma and Allergies at SchoolWASHINGTON, Oct. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- PRNewswire-USNewswire – Dealing with asthma and allergies in the school setting, once rare, is now common. But most states don't have core policies in place to protect millions of children who each spend up to eight hours per day at school. Asthma is the most common chronic cause of school absences, accounting for 10.5 million missed school days each year. Over 9 million children have asthma, ten million have other allergic diseases like nasal and skin allergies, and three million have food allergies putting them at risk for anaphylaxis – the most severe and deadly allergic reaction. Every day, asthma symptoms and allergic reactions strike in the classroom, gym, cafeteria, and on the bus or playground. That's why the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) assesses state-level school policies regarding asthma and allergies in an annual report, the State Honor Roll™ of Asthma and Allergy Policies for Schools ( www.StateHonorRoll.org). The report recognizes progress where it is happening and provides a blueprint for advocates and policymakers to improve policies nationwide. AAFA's 2012 list of honorees includes two new places: Indiana and the District of Columbia (DC). All of the places named to the Honor Roll are included for their leadership on school health policies for public elementary, middle and high schools. The Honor Roll list includes (in alphabetical order):
District of Columbia
AAFA identified 18 "core policy standards" to assess states, and those having at least 15 of the 18 policies are named to the Honor Roll. Other states have progressed, enacting laws that are consistent with AAFA's core policy standards, but have not done enough to qualify for AAFA's Honor Roll. The full report at www.StateHonorRoll.org presents the methodology, findings and performance of all 50 states and DC on core standards, "extra credit" indicators and several noteworthy new laws and programs. This year's report also features "spotlight" reports on emerging issues in food allergy and anaphylaxis, including: "Schools Face Challenges in Treating Anaphylaxis," and "Is Your Community EMS Able to Handle Anaphylaxis?" About the Study For the State Honor Roll™ report, AAFA assessed three categories of policies: Medication & Treatment policies, Awareness policies and School Environment policies. Within these categories AAFA research and policy experts, in consultation with leaders in the fields of medicine, education and advocacy, identified 18 core policy standards relating to asthma and allergies in schools. Policy areas included school nurse-to-student ratios, laws allowing students to carry and administer their asthma and anaphylaxis medications, indoor air quality policies for school buildings, smoking bans and cessation programs, and more.