PUBLIC POLICY

R.I. named to state health honor roll

COURTESY THE ASTHMA AND ALLERGY FOUNDATION OF AMERICA
RHODE ISLAND MADE the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's State Honor Roll for the fourth consecutive year for its policies to protect children from asthma and allergies in the state school system.
Posted 10/17/12

WASHINGTON – Rhode Island was one of seven states and the District of Columbia to be named to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America’s State Honor Roll.

The distinction is reserved for states that have core policies in place to protect children from asthma and allergies in the school setting.

“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,” said the nonprofit in its report.

The AAFA identified 18 “core policy standards” in order to assess states. Any states which had at least 15 of the 18 policies were named to the honor roll.

Rhode Island, which has been on the nonprofit’s honor roll since 2008, met 16 of the 18 standards and 10 of the 15 extra credit indicators.

In the medication and treatment policies category, the Ocean State met eight of the nine core policy standards, including: requiring that schools maintain asthma/allergy incident reports for all reactions, attacks and medications administered.

The state met both of the core policy standards in the awareness policies category and requires that allergy and asthma education are included in health curriculum for all students.

In the school environmental policies category, Rhode Island met six of seven core policy standards, including prohibiting smoking on school grounds and during school functions and requiring tobacco use prevention in the health education curriculum.

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, asthma is now the most common chronic cause of school absences, accounting for roughly 10.5 million missed school days each year.

“Over 9 million children have asthma, 10 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,” said a release. “Every day, asthma symptoms and allergic reactions strike in the classroom, gym, cafeteria, and on the bus or playground.”

Along with Rhode Island, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Indiana, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Vermont and Washington were named to the foundation’s annual list.

“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,” said a release from the nonprofit.

To see the AAFA’s full report, visit: www.aafa.org.

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