Although all 50 states permit children with asthma to self-carry personal inhalers, access to emergency inhalers may be as low as 14 percent. Every child could have access when needed if albuterol were allowed to be stocked at schools. This problem affects all children: rich or poor, private-schooled or public-schooled, urban or rural.
In an article published online in the journal Pediatrics Perspective (June 2019), Dr. Lynn Gerald, professor of health promotion sciences at the University of Arizona Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, and associate director for clinical research with UA Asthma & Airway Disease Research Center, and her colleague Dr. Andrea Pappalardo in the Division of Pediatric Allergy-Immunology at the University of Illinois Health, urge pediatricians to advocate for stock inhaler policies in schools.
Schools can purchase a single inhaler containing albuterol to administer to anyone who experiences the sudden onset of cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness that signals an asthma attack.
Each of the states that have adopted stock albuterol policies did so by amending their stock epinephrine laws to include albuterol. Currently, stock albuterol legislation exists in 12 states: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, and West Virginia. This strategy was employed because amending an active policy or legislation is often easier than creating a new legislation.
Stock albuterol legislation allows schools to have access to rescue asthma medications that can be available to all students who may be experiencing an acute asthma exacerbation. The authors strongly urge colleagues to undertake such actions in other states to ensure such policies are universal.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on June 21