A new bill would allow children with asthma to self-medicate. Children with asthma would be allowed to use their inhalers at school without asking a teacher or nurse under a bill expected to pass the House Tuesday, April 9. Senator Don Thomas says schoolchildren with the condition are not allowed to carry their own inhalers now, even though many of them self-medicate at home. Thomas, a republican and physician from Dalton, co-sponsored the bill in the senate. The bill was inspired by a Clayton County boy who died last year after an acute asthma attack at school. The ten-year-old suffered the attack at the end of the school day and died before paramedics could arrive. Thomas says the bill would prevent emergency room visits and "unnecessary suffering" for the children. Children would have to have a doctor's prescription for the inhaler and a parent's permission to use it themselves. Jackie Dougherty works with school health programs for asthma for the centers for disease control and prevention. She says many states already allow children to self-medicate for asthma because the number of asthmatic children is on the rise. She said -- quote -- "the important thing is that children who are allowed to self-medicate know how to do it, know when to do it, and they tell an adult. When you don't allow the children to carry their own medication, you're hindering that child's ability to breathe." Asthma affects more than 17 (m) million Americans, causing spells of breathing difficulties and wheezing. The bill easily passed the Senate last month and is expected to encounter little opposition in the House.