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Managing Your Child's Asthma at School

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Can My Child Self-Administer Asthma Inhalers at School?

You might wonder if your child is mature enough to carry and self-administer asthma inhalers and other lifesaving medication at school. Consider the following questions:

  • Does your child wish to carry and self-administer asthma medications?
  • Does your doctor believe the child to be an appropriate age, maturity, or developmental level?
  • Does your child have the ability to identify signs and symptoms of asthma and/or anaphylaxis?
  • Does he or she have knowledge of proper medication use in response to signs/symptoms?
  • Does the child have the ability to use correct technique in administering medication?
  • Does the child have knowledge about medication side effects and what to report?
  • Is the child willing to comply with school's rules about use of medicine at school?
  • Can the child be trusted to keep the asthma inhaler and/or auto-injectable epinephrine with him/her at all times?
  • Will the child notify a responsible adult (e.g., teacher, nurse, coach, playground assistant) during the day when a bronchodilator inhaler is used and immediately when auto-injectable epinephrine is used?
  • Will the child promise not to share medication with other students or leave the medicine unattended?
  • Will the child not use bronchodilator asthma inhalers or auto-injectable epinephrine for any other use than what is intended?
  • Has your child shown responsibility in the past by carrying and self-administering medicine while attending a previous school or during an after-school program?
  • Does your child know to notify an adult immediately after administering a medication?

Although past asthma history is not a sure predictor of future asthma episodes, those children with a history of asthma symptoms and episodes might benefit the most from carrying and self-administering emergency or rescue medications at school. It may be useful to consider the following:

  • Frequency and location of past sudden asthma attacks
  • Presence of triggers at your child’s school
  • Frequency of past hospitalizations or emergency department visits due to your child’s asthma

Check with your school officials and ask about the policy in your school district. The goal is for all students to eventually carry and self-administer their medications. Working with your child, his or her doctor, and the teacher and other school officials, you can come to a safe resolution for confidently managing your child’s asthma at school.  

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Luqman Seidu, MD on July 08, 2012
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