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Use of Asthma Inhalers In Schools

In order to ensure that a child has his or her asthma medication immediately available in when an asthma attack occurs, Pennsylvania has enacted a law (Act 187) requiring schools to develop a written policy that allows school aged children to carry (possess) and use (self-administer) their asthma medication.

Schools should be able to provide a copy of their policy.

 Each school's policy should require that a child:

  • Be able to demonstrate the ability to use the inhaler.
  • Behave responsibly when using the inhaler.
  • Notify the school nurse immediately following each use of an asthma inhaler.

A school has the right to deny the privilege to carry an inhaler, or to restrict its use, if school policies are abused or ignored.

A school's policy may require:

  • written statement from the child's health care provider that provides:
    • the name of the medication
    • the dose
    • the times when medication is to be taken
    • the diagnosis or reason medicine is needed (unless this is confidential)
    • information on serious reactions that could occur and appropriate emergency responses
    • that the child is qualified and able to self-administer the medication
  • written statement from the parent or guardian that:
    • the school follow the health care providers orders
    • the school entity and/or school employee be relieved of any responsibility for the benefits or consequences of the prescribed medication
    • the school bears no responsibility for ensuring that the medication is taken
  • The right of the school to require a statement from the health care provider for continued use of any medication beyond a specified time period.