Asthma is a condition that affects the airways and can be life-threatening. On average 3 children in every classroom in the UK has asthma. 

5.4 million 
people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults. 
Every 10 seconds 
someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack in the UK. 
3 people die 
from an asthma attack on average in the UK every day. 
 
77,124 people 
were admitted to hospital for asthma in the UK (2017 data). 
 
1,484 people 
in the UK died from an asthma attack in the UK in 2017. 
 

Causes of Asthma 

Asthma is a condition that affects the airways – these are the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs. 
When a person with asthma comes into contact with something that irritates their airways (an asthma trigger), the muscles around the walls of the airways tighten so that the airways become narrower and the lining of the airways becomes inflamed and starts to swell. 
Sometimes sticky mucus or phlegm builds up which can further narrow the airways. 
All these reactions cause the airways to become narrower and irritated - making it difficult to breath and leading to symptoms of asthma. 
Symptoms of asthma 
 
Coughing 
Wheezing 
Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing or speaking 
Tightness in the chest 
Distress 
Grey-blue tinge to the lips, earlobes and nailbeds (known as cyanosis) 
Common triggers 
 
Physical activity 
Changes in the weather 
Dust and pollen can all trigger asthma 
Cigarette smoke 
Pollution 
Ensure known triggers are noted in a healthcare plan and that key staff are made aware 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

4 simple steps to take 

1. Help them to sit up – don’t let them lie down. Try to be calm 
 
2. Help them take a puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue), with their spacer, if they have it every 30 to 60 seconds up to a total of 10 puffs 
 
3. If they don’t have their blue inhaler, it’s not helping or if you are worried at any time, call 999 straightaway 
 
4. While you wait for an ambulance, your child can use their blue reliever again, every 30 to 60 seconds (up to 10 puffs) if they need to. 
 

Medication & communication checklist 

Provide help and support for the safe use of prescribed medication. This is best agreed with the pupil and parent/carer and written into a healthcare plan. 
Make sure medication is stored in an agreed safe place, and that parents / carers are informed when it’s getting low. 
When going on school outings as part of the risk assessment ensure medication protocols are checked and implemented 
Speak regularly to parents / carers to ensure that information held at school is accurate and up to date. 
Set review dates for healthcare plans. 
Ensure that supply/ cover teachers are made aware of asthma sufferers in their class. 
Following a hospital admission or a period of absence from school check in to see if any changes need to be made to the healthcare plan. 

Resources 

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