August 10, 2022
1 minute read
Disclosures: Winders reports employment as president and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network.
Since 2004, students with asthma have been allowed to carry and self-administer their rapid-relief albuterol inhaler at school. But what if the inhaler is left at home or lost during the school day?
With millions of children returning to school, the availability of quick-relief albuterol inhalers at school would help ensure appropriate and prompt emergency treatment for students suffering from an asthma flare-up.
Albuterol is the medicine in a quick-relief inhaler that relieves wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness. Rescue inhalers are available by prescription, although over-the-counter availability has been offered.
Asthma is a major health problem in the United States, with 6.3 million children diagnosed with the disease according to the CDC. It is also one of the leading causes of school absenteeism, accounting for a total of 13.8 million school days per year.
Asthma flare-ups should be treated at the first sign of symptoms. Any delay increases the risk of hospitalization. By ensuring schools have an emergency stock of albuterol on site, we can keep all children with asthma safe.
However, the costs of providing these supplies to schools and training school staff in their use are major challenges in implementing these programs.
In 2021, the School-Based Asthma Management Program Act (HR 2468), introduced by U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), became law. It gives federal funding preference to states that encourage schools to stock albuterol inhalers.
The bill also allows trained school staff to administer the inhaler if necessary and implement school asthma management programs to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for children with asthma.
Allergy & Asthma Network is now working with all 16 states that have passed legislation allowing albuterol to be stocked in schools. Charmayne Anderson, our Director of Advocacy, said “immediate access to emergency asthma medication is essential for schoolchildren with asthma”.
For more information:
Tonya A. Winders, MBA, can be reached at [email protected]