October 3, 2014

Schools can keep a spare Asthma Inhaler

From 1st October 2014 onwards schools in England and Wales are legally allowed to keep spare asthma inhalers for pupils. This is likely to be a big help to all of us who work in schools, teachers, classroom assistants, midday meal supervisors and welfare officers….


There are often occasions when a pupil is suffering from an asthma attack yet their own inhaler is broken, empty or just plain lost. This is always distressing and could be dangerous because until now the most common type of salbutamol inhaler has been a prescription-only item under the Medicines Act, only to be issued following prescription by a medical practitioner.

Following a change in the law, schools can now make their own arrangements to buy and hold inhalers for use by pupils.
This follows a campaign by the organisation Asthma UK and advice from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency to change the law. This campaign was supported by many people in the Education sector and will come as a welcome relief to parents, guardians and children themselves.
Of course inhalers contain powerful medication, so we cannot just dish them out any time we like. Schools are strongly advised to have suitable policies and procedures in place to ensure that inhalers are purchased, stored and used correctly. For many schools a simple emergency asthma kit could contain :

  • a salbutamol metered dose inhaler
  • at least two single-use plastic spacers compatible with the inhaler
  • instructions on using the inhaler and spacer/plastic chamber
  • instructions on cleaning and storing the inhaler
  • manufacturer’s information
  • a checklist of inhalers, identified by their batch number and expiry date, with monthly checks recorded
  • a note of the arrangements for replacing the inhaler and spacers
  • a list of children permitted to use the emergency inhaler as detailed in their individual healthcare plans

Tags: asthma attack,asthma inhalers,first aid,first aid at school,first aid kit,first aid tips,

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