Purpose of this policy
To ensure schools have the right equipment to manage asthma emergencies.
Schools must provide and maintain at least two Asthma Emergency Kits - one to keep at the school, and a mobile kit for activities such as excursions and camps. it is recommended that large schools have an additional kit for every 300 students, see Locations.
Asthma Emergency Kits must contain:
- at least 1 blue or blue/grey reliever medication such as Airomir, Asmol, or Ventolin
- at least 2 spacer devices (for single person use only) to assist with effective inhalation of the blue or blue/grey reliever medication (ensure spare spacers are available as replacements)
- clear written instructions on Asthma First Aid, including:
- how to use the medication and spacer devices
- steps to be taken in treating an asthma attack
- a record sheet/log for recording the details of a first aid incident, such as the number of puffs administered - record sheets can be downloaded from the Asthma Foundation of Victoria web site.
If schools are using the Lite-Aire Disposable Cardboard spacer in their Asthma Emergency Kits, the school needs to be aware that the imagery is printed in refined soy ink. Although the risk of developing an allergic reaction to refined soy ink is low, there is still a risk and should be taken into account when developing Individual Anaphylaxis Management Plans for students diagnosed with soy allergy and Asthma.
Schools are not required to provide a nebuliser for students. If a student is prescribed a nebuliser, they should bring their own to school. Parents can obtain information on the use of nebulisers from the manufacturer (all nebulisers are labelled with the manufacturer's name). The Asthma Foundation of Victoria has nebulisers information for parents, carers and schools, see: Asthma Foundation of Victoria - Nebuliser Information
The Asthma Foundation of Victoria also provides a range of information for staff including a fact sheet about using reliever medication/spacers, first aid poster, Asthma Emergency Kits, free asthma education sessions, planning and support, see Asthma Foundation of Victoria
Complete Asthma Emergency Kits can be purchased from the Asthma Foundation of Victoria or the components can be purchased through retail pharmacies.
A nominated staff member should be responsible for maintaining the Asthma Emergency Kit/s, including:
- ensuring all contents are maintained and replaced when necessary
- regularly checking the expiry date on the canister of the blue or blue/grey reliever puffer and replacing it if expired or low on doses
- replacing spacers in the Asthma Emergency Kit after each use spacers are single-person use only. Once used, the spacer can be given to that student, or thrown away.
- previously used spacers should be disposed of.
Note: Schools can legally purchase a blue or blue/grey reliever puffer for first aid purposes from a pharmacist on the written authority of the principal.
Asthma spacers are single-person use only. To avoid infection transmission via mucus, spacers and masks must only be used by the one student. They should be stored in a dustproof container.
Note: Blue or blue/grey reliever medication ‘puffers’ in the Asthma Emergency Kit may be used by more than one student, as long as they are used with a spacer. If the medication delivery device (e.g. puffer) comes into contact with someone’s mouth it cannot be reused by anyone else and must be replaced.
Cleaning puffer after every use
Remove the metal canister from the puffer. Do not wash the canister.
Wash the plastic casing.
Rinse the mouthpiece through the top and bottom under running water for at least 30 seconds. Wash mouthpiece cover.
Air dry then reassemble.
Test the puffer to make sure no water remains in it, then return to the Asthma Emergency Kit.
Asthma Emergency Kits should be located strategically around the school and readily available i nan asthma emergency. Mobile Asthma Emergency Kits are also required for:
- the office/administration area
- yard duty
- excursions/sports days