Every single day 84 children are admitted to hospital for emergency treatment for asthma, and each year the equivalent of a classroom of children die because of their asthma. That’s pretty scary. Bearing in mind that children spend a lot of time at school, it’s highly likely that, at some point, they’re going to have an asthma attack or be in need of asthma medicine while they’re there. So what happens if a child has an asthma attack at school and needs treatment but doesn’t have their inhaler with them for one reason or another? At the minute, it’s illegal for schools to have an emergency inhaler to use in the event of a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. We think this is unacceptable as data shows that 68% of children with asthma across the UK have had an asthma attack whilst at school and 86% of children say they’ve been without their own inhaler because they’ve forgotten, lost, broken or run out of it.
Asthma UK has been campaigning to have this law changed, so we’re very pleased that the Government has announced a public consultation on spare inhalers in schools. We believe it’s vital to make this change to the law so that children with asthma don’t have to go through another school year without access to a spare inhaler should they need one in an emergency. Unless we make our voice heard on this issue now, we’re worried it could be many years before spare inhalers are available to children at school – if it happens at all.
We desperately need your support to help make this happen. We need as many people as possible to visit our website www.asthma.org.uk/schoolinhalers1 and complete the consultation response so we can highlight how important this issue is to people with asthma and to the parents of children with asthma. Hopefully together we can help keep children safe at school.
If this change does happen it will have come too late for Paul and Karen Linton who tragically lost their son, Sam, to asthma after he died following an asthma attack at school in 2007. “No parent should have to go through what myself and Paul have been though,” says Karen. “It’s simply unacceptable that schools aren’t allowed to keep a spare emergency inhaler in their first aid kits. I can’t urge parents strongly enough to make their voices heard on this issue. Please, please, respond to this consultation so we can change the law and keep children with asthma safe in schools.”
Asthma UK is the UK’s leading asthma charity. We’re here to support people with asthma when they need us the most and fund world-leading research to find better treatments and ultimately a cure. Our goal is to prevent asthma attacks, especially those that result in death and emergency hospitalisation.
For more information about asthma please visit www.asthma.org.uk.