To ensure that Leongatha Secondary College appropriately supports students diagnosed with asthma.
This policy applies to:
- all staff, including casual relief staff, contractors and volunteers
- all students who have been diagnosed with asthma or who may require emergency treatment for asthma and their parents/carers.
To explain to Leongatha Secondary College parents/carers, staff and students the processes and procedures in place to support students diagnosed with asthma.
Asthma is a long-term lung condition. People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs which react to triggers, causing a ‘flare-up’. In a flare-up, the muscles around the airway squeeze tight, the airways swell and become narrow and there is more mucus. This makes it hard to breathe. An asthma flare-up can come on slowly (over hours, days or even weeks) or very quickly (over minutes). A sudden or severe asthma flare-up is sometimes called an asthma attack.
Symptoms of asthma can vary over time and often vary from person to person. The most common asthma symptoms are:
- wheezing (a whistling noise from the chest)
- tight feeling in the chest
- persistent cough
Symptoms often occur at night, early in the morning or during/just after physical activity. If asthma is well controlled, a person should only have occasional asthma symptoms.
A trigger is something that sets off or starts asthma symptoms. Everyone with asthma has different triggers. For most people with asthma, triggers are only a problem when asthma is not well controlled with medication. Common asthma triggers include:
If a student diagnosed with asthma enrols at Leongatha Secondary College:
- Parents/carers must provide the school with an Asthma Care Plan which has been completed by the student’s medical practitioner. The plan must outline:
- the prescribed medication taken by the student and when it is to be administered, for example as a pre-medication to exercise or on a regular basis
- emergency contact details
- the contact details of the student’s medical practitioner
- the student’s known triggers
- the emergency procedures to be taken in the event of an asthma flare-up or attack.
- Parents/carers should also provide a photo of the student to be included as part of the student’s Asthma Care Plan.
- Leongatha Secondary College will keep all Asthma Care Plans:
- in the Front Office store room
- School staff may also work with parents/carers to develop a Student Health Support Plan which will include details on:
- how the school will provide support for the student
- identify specific strategies
- allocate staff to assist the student
Any Student Health Support Plan will be developed in accordance with the Leongatha Secondary College Healthcare Needs Policy.
- If a student diagnosed with asthma is going to attend a school camp or excursion, Leongatha Secondary College parents/carers are required to provide any updated medical information.
- If a student’s asthma condition or treatment requirements change, parent/carers must notify the school and provide an updated Asthma Care Plan.
- Relevant College staff members will work with parents/carers to review Asthma Care Plans (and Student Health Support Plans)
Student asthma kit
All students diagnosed with asthma are required to have a student asthma kit at school which contains:
- their own prescribed reliever medication labelled with the student’s name
- their spacer (if they use one)
Students will be required to keep their asthma kits with them while at school.
Asthma emergency response plan
If a student is:
- having an asthma attack
- difficulty breathing for an unknown cause, even if they are not known to have asthma
School staff will endeavour to follow the Asthma First Aid procedures outlined in the table below. School staff may contact Triple Zero “000” at any time.
|1||Sit the person upright
|2||Give 4 separate puffs of blue or blue/grey reliever puffer:
Remember – Shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths
|3||Wait 4 minutes
(or give 1 more dose of Bricanyl or Symbiocort inhaler)
|4||If there is still no improvement call Triple Zero “000” and ask for an ambulance.
(or 1 dose of Bricanyl or Symbicort every 4 minutes – up to 3 doses of Symbicort)
|5||If asthma is relieved after administering Asthma First Aid, stop the treatment and observe the student. Notify the student’s emergency contact person and record the incident|
Staff will call Triple Zero “000” immediately if:
- the person is not breathing
- if the person’s asthma suddenly becomes worse or is not improving
- if the person is having an asthma attack and a reliever is not available
- if they are not sure if it is asthma
- if the person is known to have anaphylaxis
Training for staff
Leongatha Secondary College will arrange the following asthma management training for staff:
|Staff||Completed by||Course||Provider||Cost||Valid for|
|School staff with a direct teaching role with students affected by asthma or other school staff directed by the principal after conducting a risk assessment.||Asthma first aid management for education staff (non-accredited)
One hour online training.
|Asthma Australia||Free to all schools||3 years|
|Staff working with high risk children with a history of severe asthma, or with direct student wellbeing responsibility, (including nurses, PE/sport teachers, first aid and school staff attending camp)||Course in Asthma Awareness 10760NAT
Course in the management of Asthma Risks and Emergencies in the Workplace 22556VIC
|Any RTO that has this course in their scope of practice||Paid by Leongatha Secondary College||3 years|
Leongatha Secondary College will also conduct an annual briefing for staff to support staffing in being aware of which students have asthma and are aware of asthma management procedures.
Asthma Emergency Kit
Leongatha Secondary College will provide and maintain at least three Asthma Emergency Kits. Two kits will be kept on school premises at the Front office and one will be a mobile kit for activities such as:
- yard duty
- camps and excursions.
The Asthma Emergency Kit will contain:
- at least 1 blue or blue/grey reliever medication such as Airomir, Admol or Ventolin
- at least 2 spacer devices (for single person use only) to assist with effective inhalation of the blue or blue/grey reliever medication Leongatha Secondary College will ensure spare spacers are available as replacements). Spacers will be stored in a dust proof container.
- clear written instructions on Asthma First Aid, including:
- how to use the medication and spacer devices
- steps to be taken in treating an asthma attack
- A Medication Administration Log recording the details of an asthma first aid incident, such as the number of puffs administered.
A College Operations staff member will monitor and maintain the Asthma Emergency Kits. They will:
- ensure all contents are maintained and replaced where necessary
- regularly check the expiry date on the canisters of the blue or blue/grey reliever puffers and place them if they have expired or a low on doses
- replace spacers in the Kits after each use (spacers are single-person use only)
- dispose of any previously used spaces.
The blue or blue/grey reliever medication in the Asthma Emergency Kits may be used by more than one student as long as they are used with a spacer. If the devices come into contact with someone’s mouth, they will not be used again and will be replaced.
After each use of a blue or blue/grey reliever (with a spacer):
- remove the metal canister from the puffer (do not wash the canister)
- wash the plastic casing
- rinse the mouthpiece through the top and bottom under running water for at least 30 seconds
- wash the mouthpiece cover
- air dry then reassemble
- test the puffer to make sure no water remains in it, then return to the Asthma Emergency Kit.
Management of confidential medical information
Confidential medical information provided to Leongatha Secondary College to support a student diagnosed with asthma will be:
- recorded on the student’s file
- shared with all relevant staff so that they are able to properly support students diagnosed with asthma and respond appropriately if necessary.
Epidemic Thunderstorm Asthma
Leongatha Secondary College will be prepared to act on the warnings and advice from the Department of Education and Training when the risk of epidemic thunderstorm asthma is forecast as high.
This policy will be available on Leongatha Secondary College’s website so that parents and other members of the school community can easily access information about Leongatha Secondary College’s asthma management procedures.
Further information and resources
- Asthma Foundation Victoria: Resources for schools
- School Policy and Advisory Guide: