VIENNA, VA, AUG. 22, 2016 – Since enactment of the Asthmatic Schoolchildren’s Treatment and Health Management Act of 2004, students with asthma have had the right to self-carry and self-administer their quick-relief albuterol inhaler while at school – but what happens if the inhaler is left at home or lost during the school day?
With millions of children heading back to school this month and in September, availability of quick-relief albuterol inhalers at school would help ensure appropriate and timely emergency treatment for students experiencing an asthma flare, says Tonya Winders, President and CEO of Allergy & Asthma Network, the leading nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization. Albuterol is the medication inside a quick-relief inhaler that relieves wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest tightness.
Asthma is a significant health concern in the United States, with 6.3 million children diagnosed with the condition, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is also a leading cause of school absenteeism, accounting for a total of 13.8 million school days per year.
“Asthma flares should be treated at the first sign of symptoms – any delay increases the risk for hospitalization,” Winders says. “By ensuring schools have emergency supplies of stock albuterol on site, we can keep all children with asthma safe.”
Pending legislation in Congress – the School-Based Asthma Management Program Act (H.R. 4662), introduced by U.S. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD) – would give federal funding preference to states that encourage schools to stock albuterol inhalers. The bill would also allow trained school personnel to administer the inhaler when necessary, and implement school-based asthma management programs to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for children with asthma.
“Immediate access to emergency asthma medications is critical for schoolchildren with asthma,” says Charmayne Anderson, Director of Advocacy for Allergy & Asthma Network. “We encourage patients, families and school officials to contact their representatives in Congress and urge them to support H.R. 4662.” Visit AllergyAsthmaNetwork.org/advocacy to contact your representatives.