With one in five children suffering from asthma at some point in their life, a recent Irish Asthma Society survey found that 94% of principals are concerned about the risk of asthma in their school. And, worryingly, 82% said they or their colleagues would not feel comfortable managing an asthma attack to keep a child safe.
The survey was conducted among 120 school staff who had participated in the Asthma Safe Schools program. More than a third of those surveyed had known a child having an asthma attack in their school, but 82% did not have an asthma policy at school and 78% of principals did not believe their school was safe for asthma.
Asthma Society CEO Sarah O’Connor acknowledges the study was small, but says it signals a warning. “Survey respondents were the most committed to managing asthma in school. We fear that in other schools, where it is not such a high priority, the situation could be worse.
“The school principal is the guardian of the well-being of teachers and children. They have a very good view of the landscape on what is needed to ensure the safety of children and the happiness of teachers at work. If managers are worried, we are worried.
With 100% of respondents saying their school did not have access to a dedicated (blue) reliever inhaler for asthma emergencies, O’Connor says a consistent asthma medication policy is needed in schools. schools. “Some schools allow the teacher / SNA to give asthma medication. Others require a parent to come and do it. And some schools do not commit to it at all.
The Asthma Society wants all schools to know that an asthma attack is not a normal event, but a medical emergency. More than half of survey respondents said they wouldn’t know when to call emergency services or how to recognize a child who is deteriorating during an asthma attack.
“School asthma deaths are rare, but real. Our system is courting that. Teachers and parents are afraid of it. We urge all schools to have an emergency asthma kit, including an inhaler and spacer, in case a child has an asthma attack. ”
Adding that Ireland has huge community support for rapid access to defibrillators, O’Connor says the same support doesn’t seem to galvanize for having an emergency inhaler in schools and for staff to know the five-step rule. . “Still, they are lifesavers and represent a reasonable investment.”
The Asthma Society is requesting funding for a national asthma safe schools program.
Asthma Society’s Back2School webinar has tips / advice for teachers on how to act responsibly / safely with children with asthma: exa.mn/Asthma-webinaire-écoles
In the event of an asthma attack, teachers / ANS should follow the five-step rule:
1. Stay calm. Sit up straight – don’t lie down.
2. Take slow, regular breaths.
3. Take one puff of reliever (blue) inhaler every minute. Use a spacer if available. Those over the age of six can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes. Children under six can take up to six puffs in 10 minutes.
4. Call 112 or 999 if no improvement after 10 minutes.
5. Repeat step 3 if the ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes.
– Visit: exa.mn/Asthma-Société-videos