Schools campaign launched in Scotland to help raise awareness of what to do if a child has an asthma attack

Leading health charity, Asthma + Lung UK Scotland has launched a new campaign aimed at schools to help spot first signs of an asthma attack and what to do in an emergency

Asthma + Lung UK Scotland has launched a new campaign aimed at schools to help spot first signs of an asthma attack and what to do in an emergency. 

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in Scotland, affecting around 71,000 youngsters. In 2021/22 1437 children ended up in hospital requiring emergency care because of their asthma.

Children with asthma have more sensitive, inflamed airways. This means they’re more likely to react to common asthma triggers like colds and viruses, pollen, dust mites, pollution, and stress, resulting in coughing, wheezing, feeling out of breath, and having a tight chest.

Public Health Minister Jenny Minto, said: “Asthma is a condition that affects many people in Scotland, however, many people might not recognise the warning signs or know what to do in the event of someone suffering from an asthma attack. 

"This new campaign to raise awareness about what to do if a child has an asthma attack is so important. Having an attack, or even witnessing one, can be quite distressing and knowing what to do can help save a life.”

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Scotland, said: “We’re launching this awareness campaign because there is no such thing as mild asthma - as anyone with the condition could end up having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

“Common signs that a child might be at risk of an asthma attack include increased coughing, especially when doing activities, wheezing, and a tight chest. But symptoms vary, which is why it’s important that all caregivers including teachers, as well as parents, are familiar with a child’s individual triggers and red flags. These can be shared via the school asthma card which can be downloaded from our website.

“It is also vital to know what to do in an emergency. Following these five steps if a child is having an asthma attack, could be lifesaving.

1.    Get the child to sit up, rather than lying them down, and keep them calm.
2.    Help them to take one puff of their reliever inhaler (usually blue) with their spacer every 30 to 60 seconds, up to 10 puffs.
3.    If you don’t have their reliever, it’s not helping, or you are worried at any time, call 999 for an ambulance.
4.    If the ambulance has not arrived after 10 minutes, or the child’s symptoms aren’t improving, repeat step two.
5.    If there’s no improvement, call 999 again immediately.

“These steps are displayed on our new Asthma in School campaign poster which can also be found on our website.”

Rhea Kershaw, Acting Deputy Head at Melrose Primary School in the Scottish Borders, is supporting the campaign. She said: “With a number of children with asthma at school, it is vitally important that adults are aware of what the signs are when a child is having an asthma attack.

“The poster makes the five steps very easy to understand in an emergency, and ensuring parents fill in the school asthma card is important, so we are fully aware of what their child’s asthma triggers and required medication are.”


To download the Asthma at School campaign poster to know what the vital five lifesaving steps are go to: Children with asthma - schools poster (A4 English) – Asthma + Lung UK (

To download the school asthma card for parents to fill in and return to the school so staff know more about the child’s asthma go to: School asthma card – Asthma + Lung UK (