By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It is estimated that as many as 14 percent of children suffer from asthma.

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Clearly, it is important that the condition is diagnosed effectively and treatment is made readily available, but another key component of care is making certain that teachers, coaches and others who deal regularly with children are familiar with the treatment of asthma and warning signs of potential problems.

A study in the journal
Pediatrics focused on health records of all children enrolled in the Chicago public school system – only one in four students with asthma and only half of children with food allergies had health management plans in place.

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These plans are important because without them school personnel are left inadequately prepared for potentially life-threatening emergencies.

Issues like medications to take, emergency contacts and a wide variety of other factors need to be talked about before a crisis and not during a medical emergency.

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Certainly Chicago is not alone. This should be addressed.