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Emergency Asthma Inhalers in Schools

18th September 2019

by Richard Chavasse, Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician

Children and young people (CYP) spend a significant proportion of their time at school. The school environment exposes children and young people to a number of common triggers for asthma, it is therefore important that they have their reliever treatment on hand in case of an emergency. It is advised that schools should keep a register of children who have asthma and an asthma action plan for their time at school and have an inhaler and spacer available.

In 2015 the Dept of Health published guidance that all schools should obtain a generic reliever inhaler which could be used if a CYP with asthma was having acute symptoms but, for some reason, had not got their own inhaler to hand. This might avoid a crisis and the need for an emergency hospital admission.

The Wandsworth and Merton Children’s Asthma Board have developed an emergency asthma bag for schools. These have been distributed to all state schools in both boroughs this year. The bags were devised by the asthma team at St Georges Hospital and assembled by St Georges Hospital Pharmacy. The bags contain a salbutamol pMDI, 5 disposable spacers, a laminated instruction sheet, log of use and register of CYP eligible to use the equipment. Parental consent is required.

The emergency bags were distributed by school nurses. This has also allowed a focus for asthma education both with school nurses and within schools. The bags can be replenished through St George’s Pharmacy.

Our next project is to develop a Schools Emergency Allergy Bag to include adrenaline. This has the potential for cost savings as well as increasing safety.

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