Results of a recently conducted survey[1] amongst school principals, teachers and SNAs revealed that 82% of respondents and their colleagues would not feel confident about managing an asthma attack to keep a child safe and 100% of respondents stated that their school did not have access to a dedicated reliever inhaler (blue inhaler) in the event of an asthma emergency.

Over half of respondents (58%) stated that they would not know when to call emergency services or know how to recognize a child is deteriorating in the event of having an asthma attack. Furthermore, 94% of principals that responded to the survey were concerned about the risk of asthma in their school and 76% did not feel that their school was asthma safe.

The Asthma Society of Ireland is encouraging primary school teachers to sign up for their FREE Back2School webinar taking place on Tuesday, 28th September at 7.00 pm.  The free online event, kindly supported by Trudell Medical International, will feature a Q&A session with respiratory nurse specialist Ruth Morrow and takes place on Tuesday, 28th September, 7.00-8.00 p.m. The Asthma Society would like to invite all teachers to register for the event via 

The aim of the Back2School webinar is to equip teachers with the knowledge on how to act responsibly and safely with children with asthma under their care and how to identify what to do in the case of an asthma attack. The Asthma Society would like to remind teachers that an asthma attack is not a normal occurrence but a medical emergency.

Sarah O’Connor, CEO of the Asthma Society said, “The results of the survey truly indicate the need for this informational webinar for teachers. We aim to equip teachers and their colleagues with tips and advice on how to act responsibly and safely with children under their care who have asthma.

We would encourage teachers to check whether each child with asthma has an 'asthma pack', labelled with their name. This should include a reliever inhaler, an Asthma Attack Card and a spacer inhaler. In the event of an asthma attack, teachers should follow the “5 Step Rule”.

Moreover, we believe that this survey highlights the urgent need for the Asthma Safe Schools programme, run as a pilot programme earlier in 2021, to be fully funded as an ongoing national programme for all schools, providing an Asthma Safe Schools pack available in every school (including reliever inhaler and spacer). Teachers need support to keep children safe with their asthma in school. One in five children will experience asthma at some point in their childhood.

We have identified the Asthma Safe Schools Programme as potentially filling a major gap in asthma safety in Ireland and being a key asthma deaths prevention measure and we are appealing to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Education to support this programme. The outcomes from the programme show that it can equip teachers, SNAs and, by extension, parents and children themselves to better manage asthma.”

The Asthma Safe Schools programme was run as a pilot programme for the first time in 2021, funded by the HSE National Lottery grants. The programme included three stages:

  1. An Asthma Safe Schools webinar (223 registered, 136 attended and 86 teachers have watched the recording).
  2. Provision of 8 hours of Pre-Hospital Care Council (PHECC) approved and certified training in basic life support and the administration of salbutamol for emergency treatment with an acute asthma attack. This training is essential for any organisation to apply to have an emergency inhaler available in their premises. There were 56 applicants for this training but only sufficient funding for 30 schools. The Asthma Society will support all 30 schools to subsequently register for an asthma inhaler.
  3. All schools who participated in the webinar and first aid training were sent an online Asthma Safe Schools pack with classroom materials to explain asthma management to children and materials to print for the school to be asthma safe.

In the event of an asthma attack, teachers/SNAs should follow the “5 Step Rule”:

  1. Stay calm. Sit up straight - do not lie down.
  2. Take slow, steady breaths/
  3. Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (blue) every minute. Use a spacer if available.
    People over 6 years can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes
    Children under 6 years can take up to 6 puffs in 10 minutes
  4. Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not improve after 10 minutes
  5. Repeat Step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes

A child-friendly animated version of the 5 Step Rule is available on the Asthma Society youtube channel in English, Romanian, Portuguese, French, Arabic, Georgian, Pashto, and Brazilian: There is also an animated 5 Step Rule video featuring a voiceover from a member of the Traveller Community.

The past year has been a particularly tough time for charities. The Asthma Society is a respiratory charity supporting 370,000 patients during a respiratory pandemic. As a result, we are appealing for donations to help keep the Asthma Society’s crucial patient support services going.  Please donate today via

For more information on the Asthma Society and the patient support services available visit