Monday, July 9, 2012
Legal to carry inhaler at school?
Believe it or not, it's that time of year again. Time to make sure the kids have their asthma medications for school. Be sure and check the expiration dates on their inhaler. I just found out daughter Kitty's inhaler had expired.
But is it legal for kids to carry their inhaler at school? Don't all schools have a Zero Tolerance when it comes to "drugs" in schools?
In the United States, it is legal in EVERY state for kids with asthma to carry their inhaler with them at all times. HOWEVER-you must fill out a special form at the beginning of every school year. In our state, there is a form on the Utah Asthma Program website. It's called "Self Administration Form." That means your child can use their inhaler by themselves. There are different versions of this form. To see the form our state uses, click here. The doctor fills it out and you and the doctor both sign it. Then you give a copy to the school nurse. That gives them permission to carry a medication in a drug-free zone. (You don't want your child's inhaler locked up in the front office if they're out on the soccer field having an asthma attack. You need to use that inhaler immediately!)
The other form you need to fill out is called an Asthma Action Plan. To download a form, click here. There are a lot of different versions of an Asthma Action Plan. But it's set up like a stop light-red, yellow and green zones. It tells your child's teacher what to do if your child is in a certain zone.
Green means GO. Your child is in his normal zone. (No symptoms)
Yellow means CAUTION. Your child needs to "step up therapy" because they are starting to cough/wheeze/are short of breath, etc. They usually need to use their inhaler in this zone.
Red means STOP! Get help now! This is when medication isn't helping your child, they cannot walk or play and they're having a difficult time talking. This means get to your nearest Emergency Room as fast as you can or Call 911.
These zones are different for each child, that's why it's important for you to have an Asthma Action Plan. This tells your child's teacher what to do if your child has an asthma attack.
So even though it's still summer, it's time to start getting forms ready BEFORE school starts so your child can carry their inhaler with them at school. Remember to check the expiration dates on their asthma inhaler and Epi Pen too.
Until then, keep swimming and enjoying summer!