Rescue inhalers are a great comfort to anyone with asthma since the onset of symptoms can be sudden and frightening. Since 2004, Federal law allows children to carry rescue medication for emergencies at school.What happens when a child forgets their inhaler at home? New federal legislation may help address this concern.
School-Based Respiratory Health Management Act | House Resolution 2285
Federal Bill House Resolution 2285 was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. If passed, this bill would allow trained school personnel to administer rescue medications.
Eleven states already allow the most common rescue medication, albuterol, to be stocked at their schools. This medication can be administered by school nurses and other trained staff during a breathing emergency.
Unfortunately, North Carolina does not allow schools to supply albuterol. In most states, a child with asthma who forgets their rescue medication may be at increased risk of complications. The states with existing laws and guidelines to stock albuterol in schools include: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia.
The American Lung Association has developed a model policy for school districts. Schools can use this tool to create and implement rescue medication policies for their facility.
Wonder How Your State Ranks for Asthma and Allergy School Policies?
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAF) releases a yearly state honor roll. This report card rates each state’s asthma and allergy policies. States are ranked in a number of categories. Ranking categories include Medication and Treatment policies, Awareness policies, and School Environment policies.
The 2016 state honor roll list includes North Carolina. Our state met 19 out of the 23 AAF core policy standards. There are, of course, areas for improvement. The AAF suggested that North Carolina add more full-time school nurses and provide additional training for school staff in asthma awareness. North Carolina can also improve their facility design standards to promote healthy school environments.