Lack of inhalers in Dublin schools could cost a life to asthma
2017-09-01 18:09:29 -

As over 45,500 asthmatic children return to school in Dublin, the Asthma Society has warned that every school should have an asthma inhaler in their first aid kit in case of an emergency. 


However, two years after a new scheme was put in place by then Health Minister Leo Varadkar, no schools have received an emergency asthma inhaler.


“One in five Irish school-going children have asthma, so it is inevitable that many schools will have to deal with a student having an asthma attack at some point,” says Asthma Society chief executive Averil Power. “Unfortunately, several British children have died from fatal asthma attacks at school in recent years. It is essential we do everything we can to avoid a similar tragedy here.


While the Asthma Society welcomed the inhaler scheme on its introduction, Power adds that “we warned Minister Simon Harris last year that the excessive conditions associated with the scheme have made it unworkable in practice. 


“Now the answer to a parliamentary question has revealed that not one single school has used it to obtain an inhaler. This failure is putting lives at risk and must be addressed by the minister without further delay.”


According to the Asthma Society’s medical adviser Prof Richard Costello, Minister Harris “should make it clear to teachers that they should not be reluctant to give a child reliever medication in an asthma emergency. 


“The potential side effects, such as shakiness and increased heart rate, are minor and temporary. Up to eight puffs of salbutamol can safely be taken in one day. Delay in taking medication, on the other hand, could cost a life.”


The Asthma Society has published a range of free resources for schools on its website at Parents or teachers who want more information or advice can also speak to a nurse for free by calling the society’s advice line on 1800 44 54 64. 


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