Asthma is the most common chronic condition affecting children, with one in every eleven children affected. On average, there are two children with asthma in every classroom in the UK. There are over 25,000 emergency hospital admissions for asthma amongst children a year in the UK.
Children should be prescribed an asthma inhaler and have their own medication at school to treat chronic symptoms and for use in the event of an acute asthma attack. If they are able to manage their asthma themselves they should have their inhaler with them, and if not, it should be easily accessible to them.
However, 86% of children with asthma have at some time been without an inhaler at school having forgotten, lost or broken it, or the inhaler having run out or been out of date. Some schools have asked parents to provide a spare inhaler for use in these circumstances, but this is not always practical. It is currently illegal for schools to hold emergency salbutamol inhalers for the use of their pupils whose own inhaler is not available
Approximately 20 children of school age in England and Wales die every year from asthma and most deaths occur before the child reaches hospital.
The Government is currently consulting on plans to allow schools to hold a spare inhaler and spacer devices for use in a medical emergency where the child’s own inhaler is unavailable.
Information thanks to www.gov.uk proposal to allow Salbutamol inhalers in school for emergency use. MLX385_.docx
Asthma UK, ‘Asthma Facts and FAQs’, http://www.asthma.org.uk/asthma-facts-and-statistics
The NHS Atlas of Variation in Healthcare for Children and Young People gives the numbers of emergency admissions of children and young people for asthma in each former PCT / local authority area.
Asthma UK survey.