How to Survive School & College with Asthma

Each September represents a major milestone in the lives of thousands of students who are starting college or secondary school for the first time. 

College Students Moving In

For many, starting college is the first time that you will move out of your family home and fend for yourself, including the management of your health. For those in secondary school, you may be beginning to take more control over your medication and treatment for the first time.

For students with asthma at any level, it’s important to remember that correct medical management of your condition is critically important and must not be forgotten during this time. 

The newfound freedom and the often less than healthy aspects of student life can have a negative impact on students with asthma. Some of these triggers may include living with smokers, taking up smoking, poor dietary habits, the use of recreational drugs and excessive alcohol intake.

Starting college and/or moving out of home can all lead to increased stress which can also act as an asthma trigger. These 'triggers' are in addition to environmental factors such as dust mites, cleaning solutions and other irritants which can be found in your new home or college accommodation.


University building

Top Tips for Students with Asthma

  • Carry an Asthma Attack Card with you at all times.
  • Have an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan
  • Register with the college health centre, let them know you have asthma and ask who can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  • Ensure you take your preventer as prescribed and carry your reliever inhaler at all times.
  • If  living away from hometell your roommates about your condition and ensure that the accommodation is non-smoking.
  • If sensitive to dust mites, bring your own pillows, allergy-proof covers and a mattress cover. These can be bought at a discounted price for our members on our online shop.
  • Good hygiene is the first line of defence against any type of cold or flu - make sure you wash your hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing.

It is important to be aware of the potential environmental triggers in your new surroundings and ensure that your asthma is controlled. Control is the key to living well with asthma and there is no reason why people with asthma should not have a healthy and fun start to college life.

Ask your doctor or practice nurse about developing a personal asthma action plan or contact the Asthma Society of Ireland should you have any queries.

For advice on how to manage asthma during exam times for students click here

For further information call the Asthma Society Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64


Supports Available

The Disability Access Route to Education (DARE) is a college and university admissions scheme which in some cases offers places on reduced points to school leavers with Disabilities.  Having asthma qualifies for the scheme as it is listed as a long term condition. Therefore, we are encouraging students and parents to contact the Disability Service within their Third Level College if their asthma is effecting their studies.  

For more information on the criteria and on how to apply, visit