Preventing Asthma Emergencies in Schools

Asthma is a significant public health issue, impacting quality of life, morbidity, and health care costs nationally. Stock asthma rescue medication policies authorize school districts to maintain unassigned albuterol and enable trained staff members to administer the medication in response to asthma symptoms, exercise premedication, and asthma emergencies. Stock asthma rescue (or reliever) medication laws serve as an important fail-safe measure. Such laws provide districts with the ability to respond if a student has an asthma emergency at school but either lacks a diagnosis or does not have access to their own medication. As of September 2019, 13 states have enacted either a law or regulation authorizing the stocking of asthma rescue medication in schools: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia. Three additional states provide stock albuterol asthma guidelines but do not have legislation: Indiana, New York, and Nebraska. Some states have found that these policies reduce the need for 911 calls and emergency medical services transports as a result of asthma exacerbations. Initial data also demonstrate that these policies reach populations in need and improve health outcomes. This case study will describe the current state of asthma in Illinois, an innovative policy solution to address asthma emergencies in schools, and the steps taken to advocate for stock asthma rescue medication in Illinois. Legislation for stock albuterol in Illinois was signed into law in August 2018.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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