Asthma in schools

7) Physical Education – PE

2 teenagers playing football

© Crown copyright 2010

Exercise is important for keeping healthy and all children should be encouraged to take part in PE, including those with asthma. Exercise is a well known asthma ‘trigger’ however it is not a reason to be refused physical activity altogether.

  • If your child experiences symptoms with exercise they should take their reliever inhaler 10 minutes before activity.
  • If your child is experiencing ongoing symptoms with exercise or having frequent asthma attacks during activity they should seek a medical review as it may be their asthma is not under control.
  • Warming up before sport is important for all children but especially for those with asthma.
  • Children should have their reliever medicine available during PE.


If asthma symptoms occur during sport (or at break time) they should:

  • STOP, take their inhaler.
  • Sit out for at least 5 minutes and join in again if or when they feel better.
  • If they are not getting any relief from their inhaler it should be treated as an asthma ‘attack’ and appropriate treatment given.
  • If your child has an asthma plan make sure the school also have a copy to refer to in an emergency. It will tell school staff exactly how much of the inhaler to give. They will also have your contact details and will know when to contact you.
  • Any child who has an asthma attack at school should be supervised at all times until the ambulance arrives or until  the child has recovered fully.