04 September 2017

Children with asthma will benefit from two statewide initiatives launched today, which will greatly improve their care at school and potentially save lives.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said a first aid eBook and a standardised asthma action plan will help teachers and other school staff better identify a flare-up and act quickly to effectively manage asthma attacks.

“Asthma is often not understood as a potential killer but sadly, on average, it claims the lives of two children every year,” Mr Hazzard said.

“No child should die from asthma – it is vital that people looking after children know how to recognise signs of an asthma flare-up and how best to respond.

“As an asthmatic myself, I know how important it is to have an effective plan and there is no room for complacency.”

The Asthma First Aid Management in Schools eBook and the Schools and Child Services Action Plan for Asthma Flare-Up were developed by respiratory specialists at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, after a 2014 NSW Ombudsman report found 20 children died from asthma between 2004 and 2013.

Professor Adam Jaffe, Associate Director of Research at Sydney Children's Hospitals Network, said the eBook will be available to all NSW teachers and school staff, and can be downloaded in 51 countries via the Apple iStore.

“Both the eBook and the Action Plan will give staff in schools the knowledge, tools and confidence they need to provide expert asthma first-aid in emergency situations,” Professor Jaffe said.

“Asthma can be just as dangerous as life-threatening food allergies. These resources offer best-practice training and information for all school staff, not just those able to attend face-to-face training.”

The action plan brings together multiple asthma resources to ensure school staff have one standardised asthma first-aid form in schools across NSW – similar to the anaphylaxis action plan currently in place in all NSW schools.