Schools given permission to keep emergency salbutamol inhalers

From October 1st, primary and secondary schools in England may obtain salbutamol inhalers for the treatment of acute asthma attacks in children.

Salbutamol inhalers must be used with a compatible plastic spacer in children suffering an asthma attack | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Salbutamol inhalers must be used with a compatible plastic spacer in children suffering an asthma attack | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

The salbutamol pressurised metered dose inhalers (pMDIs) can be used in an emergency provided written parental consent has been given.

Salbutamol inhalers may be bought from pharmaceutical suppliers on the written request of the head teacher or principal (ideally on headed paper) stating the name of the school, the purpose for which the product is required and the total quantity. Schools should also obtain plastic spacers suitable for the age groups of their children.

Having access to an inhaler in emergencies could prevent an unnecessary or traumatic trip to hospital and has the potential to save lives. A survey by Asthma UK found that 86% of children with asthma have at some time been without an inhaler at school.

Department of Health Guidance on Emergency asthma inhalers for use in schools

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