School Nurses know that asthma is a widespread chronic illness among students in Australian schools. One in ten Australian children currently suffer from Asthma, which amounts to over 350,000 school-aged students.
- If asthmatic student is having difficulty breathing, help them to sit in comfortable position and start using inhaler ideally with a space chamber.
- Student should take 1 puff of the inhaler then take 4 breaths, repeated 4 times. Wait 4 minutes and reassess, if still having difficulty breathing, repeat. After second round if still not improved, call 000 and continue the 4x4x4 technique.
- Call 000 if attack becomes severe, no inhaler is available or they don't improve with medication. Reassure student while waiting for ambulance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is asthma? It is a medical condition that affects the airways that carry air in and out of the lungs. When a student has an asthma attack, these airways become narrowed, producing mucous, making it difficult to breathe in and out.
How can I tell if a student is having an asthma attack? Students with asthma manage their condition and should be able to let you know if they are having an attack. They will have difficulty breathing and speaking, and may cough and wheeze. They may be very anxious and distressed as they struggle to breathe. In some cases, their lips, earlobes and nail beds may turn greyish-blue because there isn't enough oxygen in their body.
How does an inhaler work? The medication in the inhaler relaxes the muscles, allowing the air passages to expand and ease a student’s breathing.
What if a student doesn’t have their inhaler? Call 000 for an ambulance.
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