Proposed bill could allow school nurses to administer inhalers in medical emergencies

Published: Jan. 14, 2020 at 1:47 PM EST
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Students with asthma could be breathing easier soon. New legislation in the Virginia General Assembly with local ties would let school nurses carry and administer inhalers to students in emergencies.

Right now, if a student is having an asthma attack and doesn't have their inhaler, school nurses either have to call 911 or wait for the student's parents to arrive. A new law would change that.

House Bill 860, sponsored by 58th District Delegate Rob Bell, is currently waiting to be referred to a committee. The legislation would put albuterol inhalers in the same classification as other medications like epi-pens and insulin, which school nurses are allowed to administer to students in an emergency.

Bell introduced the legislation after speaking with nurses at Albemarle County schools, like Eileen Gomez.

"The school nurses were discussing the situation when a student experiences an asthma attack and doesn't have a rescue inhaler readily available at school, and the nurses wanted to see if we could try to get floor stock albuterol inhalers, much like we have for epinephrine," said Gomez.

Gomez says that schools in Albemarle County see a handful of emergencies like this a year and this new bill could be a lifesaver for students in crisis.

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