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2 min read

How To Respond to An Asthma Attack Quickly: School Pupils And Parents Edition.

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Over 12% of the UK population have asthma: a condition that impacts a person’s airways. With asthma, airways can become irritated and are more sensitive to factors that can cause a reaction. There are common triggers for asthma: allergies, pollen, weather changes, stress, hormones and exercise. It is the most common long-term health condition among children and young people, making it vital that all school staff are prepared to manage an asthma attack during school time.


In this article, we look at how to respond to an asthma attack quickly and effectively.


Should All Staff Know How to Respond to an Asthma Attack? 

In short, yes. Not statutorily, but for good practice, all your staff, parents and students should recognise the signs of an asthma attack and the best way to support them. Your staff should be confident in knowing how to manage asthma effectively across the school. You can share this article across your school’s communications platform to give parents a concise breakdown. There are excellent, free asthma resources on Asthma and Lung UK, including useful action plan documents and peak flow meter daily recording sheets ready for download; these can be useful research-based resources to direct your parents towards. 


What to Do When Someone Has an Asthma Attack 

The DHSC’s guidance on supporting pupils with medical conditions highlights the symptoms of asthma and the signs of an asthma attack. Usual signs to look out for include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in the chest. Pupils may struggle to breathe, talk, or walk and require their reliever inhaler (usually blue). 


  1. Encourage the pupil to sit up straight (on the floor or a chair) and try to help them stay calm. You can try some mindfulness strategies here; you must remain calm yourself.

  2. Use their reliever inhaler (or school emergency inhaler); with parent consent, schools can use an emergency inhaler to support those showing signs of an asthma attack. It is recommended by Asthma UK to take one puff of the reliever every 30-60 seconds up to a maximum of 10 puffs. 

  3. Call for medical support: if after 10 puffs they are showing worsening symptoms or are not improving, call 999. 

  4. Whilst waiting for an ambulance, repeat step 2 after waiting for 10 minutes. 

  5. After an asthma attack, an appointment with a GP is recommended as soon as possible. 

Asthma UK does warn that this 5-step support for asthma attacks is not suitable for those on a MART medicine plan. 


Medical Tracker is the UK’s leading online first-aid, medical and health recording and analysing software. It can be used by schools, wrap-around clubs and external clubs such as Guides, Brownies, Scouts, sports clubs and more. Get in touch with one of our team today to see how Medical Tracker can help children with asthma learn and play in a safer environment. 

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