The Grapevine

Texas Girl Suspended For Lending Classmate Inhaler During Asthma Attack, But Was The Kind Gesture That Dangerous?

inhaler
It's not a good idea to share inhalers. Jenn Durfey CC BY 2.0

A 12-year-old in Texas may face up to 30 days punishment for lending her inhaler to a friend who was having an asthma attack. While some may view the punishment as too harsh for such a kind gesture, the reality is it's incredibly dangerous to use another person’s inhaler.

Twelve-year-old Indiyah Rush from Garland Texas didn't think twice about lending her classmate her inhaler when she saw the young girl begin to wheeze and gasp for breath. “I was just trying to save her life,” Indiyah said, according to Fox News. “I didn’t know I was doing anything bad.”

Both Indiyah and her classmate were sent to the principal's office for the incident, which went against the school’s policy for sharing a controlled substance. Indiyah was initially punished with several days of at-home suspension and may face an additional 30 days of alternative school.

“It's a prescription and one student’s severity with asthma may not mirror that of the girl who let the other borrow hers and that could have resulted in some pretty significant issues,” Chris Moore, Garland Independent School District spokesman, told Fox4.

While the punishment may seem harsh for a child, sharing prescription medication comes with the risk of serious consequences, which Moore probably knew. With many different types of inhalers, what helps one patient might hurt another. Specifically, there are three main types of asthma inhalers. Metered dose inhalers give a person their medication with one single inhalation. Metered dose spacer inhalers allow users to get their medication in more than one inhalation. And dry powder inhalers give the user their meds in one fast, deep inhalation.

According to eHow, using another person’s inhaler increases risk of being overmedicated and triggering another asthma attack. Moreover, someone else's inhaler could contain allergenic ingredients. But perhaps most obviously, using someone's inhaler puts a person at risk for infections — after all, someone else's mouth was all over it. 

For Indiyah, her 30-day alternative schooling punishment could still be wiped away. Her mother, Monique Rush, said such an extensive punishment would likely do more harm than good, as it may put her in a dangerous environment. “My kid would be mixed with kids that are using drugs at school or being caught with drugs, acting out in class,” she told Fox4. “I don’t want any of that to rub off on her.”

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