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The impact of asthma on children’s school life aged 6 to 12 years

Eleni Albani, Elena Michalopoulos, Eleni Strakadouna, Andriani Sakka, Ekaterina Triga, Maria Saridi, Maria Karali, Anastasios Tzenalis.


Abstract

Introduction: Asthma is the most common respiratory disease in children. Asthma symptoms can result in children having frequent school absences limited physical activities and social interactions with peers within the school setting.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of asthma on children’s school life aged 6-12 year related to demographic characteristic, school absences due to hospitalization, academic performance, physical activity, asthma stigma and school violence.
Methods: Data were collected with the use of a questionnaire. Questions regarding the child's demographic information as well as factors that cause children’s asthma attacks, types of treatment followed in the past year, children’ compliance to treatment instructions, children’s duration of absence from school due to hospitalization, children’ academic performance and frequency of participation in sports activities were included.
Results: The present descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted at a large pediatric hospital in Western Greece and included 160 parents of children with asthma. Analysis of the questionnaires showed that children were absent from school “less than one week” (48.3%) while child’s academic performance was affected by their condition. Finally, four out of ten children play with their peers during school recess, while 18.4% prefer to play alone. Weather conditions and allergens were reported as the most prevalent (N = 90) factors that caused their child’s asthma attacks. Parents claim their children have experienced some form of school violence while two out of ten parents choose not to talk openly about their child’s health problem.
Conclusion: Asthma has an impact on children’s school life. Informative programs for students and teachers may be useful, aiming to raise awareness about asthma, and contribute to integrate these students in the school setting while avoiding difficulties.

Key words: bronchial asthma, childhood asthma, school performance, allergy






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