Students with asthma returning to school may find that their access to medication is in jeopardy, according to a recent American Lung Association survey.

A disturbingly high 74.4% of parents whose children carry inhalers at school responded that their child’s school does not allow students to keep rescue inhalers with them, while 40% have never heard of an Asthma Action Plan, the recommended asthma management and communication tool for parents, physicians, and schools. In fact, 46 states and the District of Columbia require that the self-administration of asthma medication be allowed in public and private schools.

Norman H. Edelman, MD, PhD, chief medical officer of the ALA, said his organization strongly recommendsthat  as many students as possible carry their rescue medications.

“For each child and each situation, the school, parents, and health care provider, together, must consider the student’s maturity level, understanding of their symptoms and when they need medication, and their willingness to follow the school’s policies about carrying your own medication,” he said.

The ALA recommends that parents provide written Asthma Action Plans to schools listing asthma triggers, medications, instructions for physical activity, and an emergency plan. Schools play pivotal roles in students’ asthma management by providing an asthma-friendly school environment.