MANAGEMENT OF ASTHMA EXACERBATIONS: School Treatment
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
Steps to Follow for an Asthma Episode in the School Setting When a Nurse is Not Available
Be prepared. Know which students have asthma and where their medicine is kept.
If a student has asthma symptoms or complaints and needs your assistance,* take these steps.
- Quickly evaluate the situation. Call 911 if the student is struggling to breathe, talk, stay awake, has blue lips, or asks for an ambulance.
- NEVER LEAVE A STUDENT ALONE.
- Stop the student's activity.
- Help the student locate and take his/her prescribed quick-relief inhaler medicine.
- Contact the parent/guardian.
- Repeat quick-relief inhaler medicine in 20 minutes if student is still having trouble breathing.
Call 911 if any of the following occur:
- If the student is struggling to breathe, talk, stay awake, has blue lips, or asks for an ambulance.
- If the student doesn't improve after two administrations of quick-relief medicine, and nurse/designee or parent/guardian is not available.
- If no quick-relief medicine is available, the student's symptoms have not improved spontaneously, and nurse/designee or parent/guardian is not available.
- If you are unsure what to do.
* Many students who carry their own medicine may be able to self-manage asthma episodes. They should follow the school protocol. Provide support as needed.
** Common asthma allergens and irritants include tobacco smoke, pollens, furry animals, cockroach droppings, dust mites, chalk dust, or strong odors (for example, from cleaning products, paints, or perfume).