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Asthma exacerbation recovery, worried about return to teaching

Shadowcat04 profile image

Not sure what triggered this asthma exacerbation- could be weather change, allergens from a trip over break or who knows what. I stayed home all last week, except Monday. I got a COVID test- negative. Finally, got ahold of my asthma doctor and prescribed increase in prednisone and other advice. It’s Saturday and I don’t feel better and now my stomach is upset and I’m still exhausted.

I am having a lot of anxiety about returning to school on Monday. I teach elementary school- ESL to kids in grades K-6, in smal groups all day. 85 kids throughout the day. We are being hit pretty hard by Omicron. We have a lot of kids out with it and some staff. I’m scared to go back. I’m vaccinated and boosted, but people are getting it anyway. Our experts say it is a good idea to stay away from large groups and in their next breath they say that school should remain open. That seems like an oxymoron- schools ARE big groups of people. My school has about 500 kids and I work with them in a classroom. I’m already feeling poorly and to go back where I know it is a very good possibility that I could catch COVID feels crazy. I don’t want to go back. I don’t even feel I can work yet. Yet, I love my students and I know I’m needed. What to do? I don’t know. I’m almost out of sick leave.

6 Replies

Hi Shadowcat, speaking as an x teacher am well aware of the drive to get back to the classroom as soon as we can, but I think you have just got to face the fact that your are not well enough to go in just yet. The last thing you need on top of an asthma exacerbation is a dose of covid. Stay home until you are feeling better.

I'm sorry to hear you're not doing well. I don't have advice on the school front other than to listen to your gut. I hate that feeling of having no idea what caused an exacerbation but having to fight through it anyway. Hope you come to a good decision and that your lungs settle down quickly.

Hi. Well it is clear from your post that, forgetting Covid for a minute, that you are not well enough to be at work. You need to go back to your gp and get a longer sick note.

With relation to Covid it is now generally agreed that those with asthma are at no greater risk than anyone else from Covid. It was unclear at the beginning of pandemic but as time has gone on this is generally accepted view.

However you are worried and those fears need to be addressed. From previous posts I don’t think you are UK based (maybe USA?) so is quite difficult to advise you or make many suggestions because in USA things could be quite different from here in UK.

Are you part of a union! If so can they advise you and support you? Otherwise can you speak to you manager about concerns? I have no doubt there will be other staff who have concerns and really management need to address that. Here in UK windows and doors have to be kept open and children over age 11 that is secondary age pupils are being asked to wear face masks again. No there will still be a risk but unfortunately we are going to have to learn to live with this virus because I believe it will be around for some time to come.

Hope you can get to some answers from your managers that someway puts your mind at rest.

Thank you for your responses, ides no advice. It is so nice to have a safe place to talk about this with people who understand.

I am in the US, in Oregon (west coast). Omicron has been traveling across the country from east to west, so we are getting the COVID spike right now, every day has higher case counts than the day before. We are having trouble keeping up- not enough public bus drivers, some restaurants are closing and we do not have enough substitute teachers for all the staff out sick. I’m told every day of a few of my students that have been sent home to isolate. All students and staff at my school wear masks - students age 5-12.

I do realize that COVID will be around for awhile. I think my fear is because the two times I was hospitalized it was due to a virus that set off my asthma. One of my biggest triggers are viruses. I know I have to go back, but this variant is causing me stress and worry because it seems that vaccinations and boosters are not keeping you from catching it.

I still have cough, shortness of breath and exhaustion, but I’m thinking I need to go back to school. I don’t have a note, I was negative for COVID and when I am sitting still I feel ok. So much to be done at school and they haven’t gotten me a sub, so my kids are not getting their English lessons.

Achoo84 profile image
Achoo84 in reply to Shadowcat04

Hi Shadowcat - I can only speak from my own experience. This year I had a severe exacerbation of asthma, and it took 5 months for me to recover and even now my peak monitor highest rate is never over 300. About 8 mos. after that, I came down with pneumonia. Two weeks later I contracted omicron. I too am double vaxed and boosted. The omicron was very mild with fatigue being the most prominent symptom which was good. I had been very careful masking all the time. I live on the east coast near Boston, and we are now seeing flurona cases (flu with omicron) and Delta Cron (delta and omicron variants together. I understand how difficult this decision is for you, but if you go back and get infected by one of these duo variants or even just omicron, you may have to be hospitalized due to your history and right now hospitals are very overwhelmed. I would not want to go near a hospital right now where you could pick up pneumonia and who knows what. I think you have an excellent reason to stay away from school and a good doctor should agree and write a note. I agree with Hilary to listen to your gut. It took me a long to trust my gut, but only you will know what is best. I just thought you should think about these things while make your decision. Sending best wishes for a good recovery over the ocean.

Achoo84 profile image
Achoo84 in reply to Achoo84

Sorry I mean to say best wishes to you on the west coast. (Brain fog) Lol.

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