Asthma is unusually prevalent in New Zealand with up to 1 in 7 children and 1 in 9 adults on asthma medication. People with asthma sometimes feel short of breath, tight in the chest, wheezy, or have a cough. Symptoms vary in severity and frequency, and are triggered or worsened by various factors, such as pollen, mould, animals, food additives, stress, exercise, temperature, and illness.

As part of our commitment to health and safety Gorge Road School promotes a safe and supportive environment for students to manage their condition and participate fully in school activities.


  • inform the school of their child's condition and update this information as necessary
  • give permission for the school to administer any emergency treatment, including reliever medication
  • provide any required medication, such as reliever inhalers and spacers.


  • records the names and asthma medication requirements of students with asthma
  • informs parents if their child has an attack at school or if asthma is affecting the student at school
  • provides access for students to their medication
  • educates staff in recognising asthma and responding to attacks; and has plans in place for managing students with asthma on EOTC events, sports days, etc
  • maintains an up-to-date asthma emergency kit with clear instructions for its use
  • is smokefree at all times.


  • have access to their inhalers at all times
  • inform the teacher if they use their asthma reliever medication.

Managing asthma symptoms at school

An appropriate dose for most children suffering mild asthma is two puffs of their reliever medication. This can occasionally be increased to six when asthma is moderate or severe. Children cannot overdose on this dosage. If a child requires self-medication more frequently than four-hourly, their parents should be notified and the child collected from school.

Severe symptoms/asthma attack

Symptoms may include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • audible wheeze
  • coughing
  • difficulty speaking
  • increased respiratory rate and respiratory effort (use of tummy muscles to help breathe)
  • blueness around the mouth
  • distress.

Call an ambulance immediately if a person shows severe symptoms of asthma, especially the inability to speak or move about.

Sit the person upright and stay with them. The emergency treatment dose is six puffs, via a spacer if available, repeated almost continuously until the ambulance arrives. Be calm and speak reassuringly to the patient.