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Some Schools Don't Let Kids Carry Asthma Inhalers
Date:4/27/2012

By Serena Gordon
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- Although all 50 states have laws that allow children with asthma to carry inhalers at school and 48 states have laws that let youngsters carry epinephrine pens for serious allergies, experts say that some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day.

"Every school district handles this a little bit different, and for those who don't allow children to carry their medications, I think may be due to a lack of knowledge. School officials may not appreciate the risk that having epinephrine pens and inhalers in a locked office, instead of with the child, can pose," said Maureen George, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia.

"Fewer than 200 children die each year from asthma in the U.S. That number is low, but those deaths are preventable. And it's a double tragedy when you lose a child to a preventable condition. And, some of those deaths happen in schools," she said.

George said school officials may deny access to inhalers and epinephrine injectors because they're concerned about potential liability from allowing a child to carry their own medication. What if the child uses the medicine incorrectly? What if the child uses the medication and doesn't let an adult know? Or, what if a child allows another child to use their inhaler?

"I understand these concerns, but what's the liability in allowing a child with asthma to exercise without having access to an inhaler when a nurse may or may not even be at the school?" she added.

George said that drug abuse prevention concerns are often chief among those listed as reasons why children shouldn't carry their own medications. "But, do prescription medications really need to be grouped with illicit drugs?" George asked.

The bottom line, however, is that children and their parents now have
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