/ Modified apr 25, 2017 8:41 a.m.

Breathing Room: Asthma Inhalers OK in State's Schools

Previously schools had to call 911 rather than administering asthma medication.

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asthma inhalers VIEW LARGER It's long been verboten for Arizona schools to stock and administer asthma medication, but that's changing this summer. (PHOTO: Stina Sieg, KJZZ)

Public schools in Arizona are not allowed to have inhalers on hand to treat students experiencing an asthma attack. But that’s about to change.

Starting this summer, every public school will be able to stock and administer asthma medication. Dr. Lynn Gerald applauded the new law, recently signed by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Gerald is a professor at the University of Arizona and works with the Asthma and Airways Disease Research Center. Right now, if a child forgets her inhaler at home or can’t afford one and gets an asthma attack at school, "The only choice a school has is to call 911 or call a parent to try to bring the medication, but if a child is administered the medication, they can usually take two to four puffs of the medication and return right back to class."

Gerald said the vast majority of Arizona students who have asthma do not bring an inhaler to school. After a pilot program brought inhalers into some Pima County schools, she said, they were able to reduce medical transports by 40 percent.

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