When children with asthma attend school, their safety and management of asthma becomes a shared responsibility of the family, their asthma care provider, and the school personnel. Although all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed a law allowing students to carry and use inhalers at school, some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day.

 

Seventeen states have laws or state administrative guidelines allowing schools to stock quick-relief medications for students with asthma. Once the law or guidelines are in place, it is important to create policies to bring the law to life at the local or individual school level. Even without a state law, school districts can put a protective policy in place providing immediate access to asthma medication in schools. We encourage all school districts to implement a model policy to provide students with asthma access to quick-relief medicines during the school day. Having such a model policy can save the lives of children with asthma.

Use the resources and tools below to help schools overcome the barriers and make asthma medications available to students throughout the school day.

This issue brief examines the policies and practices in schools and makes recommendations on ways that schools, families and communities can better ensure that all students with asthma have quick, reliable access to the medications they need to stay healthy, in school and ready to learn.

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This animation provides school personnel with steps and resources to improve access to asthma medications in schools.

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To ensure access to life-saving medication during the school day, schools can adopt a Stock Bronchodilator Policy to ensure access and availability to back-up asthma medication using standing orders for quick-relief medication. Use this tool to learn how to implement a model policy on stock bronchodilators, create a protocols and procedures document, and access language to create a Stock Bronchodilator Policy for your school or school district.

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A free online course designed to help schools and school districts implement a stock asthma medication program. This course will teach participants to identify the benefits of implementing a stock quick-relief asthma medication policy in schools; develop and revise stock asthma medication policies to protect students with asthma; recognize and respond to someone experiencing respiratory distress; administer stock quick-relief asthma medication; document and report use of stock asthma medication; and, implement a successful program by obtaining standing orders, quick-relief asthma medication and other supplies while addressing funding concerns, building awareness and conducting evaluation.

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The purpose of this tool is to create a standardized process for designated school personnel and parents to use in order to determine a child's readiness to self-carry a quick-relief inhaler. Use this tool to help you identify a student's capabilities and areas that need improvement. Make a plan to work with the student throughout the school year to build the knowledge and skills to self-carry and use a quick-relief inhaler during the school day. Available in English and Spanish.

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A free interactive online learning module designed to assist designated school health staff assess a child's readiness to carry and use a quick-relief inhaler. This course will teach participants to: describe the barriers to access to asthma medication in schools; overcome barriers with a variety of resources; assess a child's readiness to self-carry asthma medications in schools; and, implement support activities for all students with asthma regardless of their level of independence.

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This form serves not just as the student's medical treatment plan, but when signed by the healthcare provider and parent, can also act as an authorization form, thus eliminating the need for schools to collect and track multiple forms.

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Asthma episodes can quickly turn into breathing emergencies. Learn how to recognize signs of respiratory distress and the life-saving actions to take with these resources:

  • Responding to Breathing Emergencies online course
    Take our one-hour online course and learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms of respiratory distress, as well as the steps to respond to a student experiencing an asthma episode.
  • First Aid for Asthma
    Follow these five steps to help someone experiencing respiratory distress. This resource can be printed and posted in common areas of the schools (e.g., nurses office, cafeteria, gym).

Stock Asthma Medication Toolkit
The American Lung Association’s Stock Asthma Medication Toolkit includes templates and forms that you can modify for use while implementing an emergency stock asthma medication program at your school. Get access to an Implementation Checklist, School Staff Tracking Form, Standing Medical Order and Prescription templates, data elements for documentation and reporting, a Usage Event Log, and a template email to Parents/Guardians about the program. Learn more about how to use the tools in this toolkit by taking the course, Stock Asthma Medication: Implementation guidance for schools.

AAAAI Stock Inhaler Toolkit for Schools
In 2023, the American Academy of Allergy Asthma Immunology in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics released the Stock Inhaler Toolkit for Schools. The American Lung Association reviewed this document and is pleased to make this available to you. Use this toolkit to: 1) Understand why stock inhalers are important for your campus - for those with and without diagnosed asthma; 2) Learn about stock inhaler laws in your state and develop a compliant school program; 3) Streamline the process of finding the right devices and finding evidence-based training materials for staff; 4) Save both time and money by utilizing our example documents and guidelines; and 5) Get started quickly on the path to help create a safer learning environment.

Page last updated: March 6, 2024

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