Case Study

12 year old James has had asthma since he was a toddler. James is a lively lad like many other boys of his age and he doesn’t let his asthma interfere with life. James loves to make his friends laugh and he is known as the class joker.

During lunchtime at school one day James is with his friends at the bottom of the school field when he feels tight chested and begins to cough. James has hay fever and the grass had been cut that morning. James doesn’t have his inhaler with him, it is in his bag in the classroom. James begins to panic when he realises this as he is finding it very hard to get his breath.

Most of James’ friends think he is joking about; it’s just James being James. Luckily, Sophie is part of the group and she knows about asthma, her sister has it quite badly. Sophie asks James where his inhaler is and he manages to tell her that it’s in the classroom. She tells the group “he’s not messing around, he’s having an asthma attack – someone go and get his inhaler, be quick.” Sophie sits with James and tries to get him to control his breathing until help arrives.

Within a couple of minutes James has his inhaler and an adult member of staff has also arrived to help. After 4 puffs of his blue inhaler James begins to feel better and is able to slowly walk to the first aid room. James needs another 2 puffs of his inhaler in the first aid room but he is feeling much better. Sophie stays with him while the staff contact his mum to collect him.

James is back at school the next day. He and his mum have a meeting with the head teacher and discuss the following:

  • James must always have his reliever inhaler with him and a spare will be kept in the first aid room
  • They would like to thank Sophie, she should be commended as without her actions James could have been in a very serious situation
  • As James thinks the attack was triggered by grass pollen the school will try to arrange for the grass to be cut in the afternoon in future
  • Staff asthma training and school policies will be updated
  • An assembly about asthma will be arranged to help all pupils understand how serious asthma can be