Studying with asthma

How to manage your asthma well when studying.

Health advice > Living with asthma

Whether you’re at school, college, or university find out the best ways to make sure asthma doesn’t get in the way of studying.

On this page:

Asthma in the classroom

Tell your school, college, or university that you have asthma. It’s a good idea to run through your asthma action plan with them. Who to talk to will depend on where you’re studying:

  • At school and college – your head of year, form tutor or a school nurse.
  • At university – university welfare support, student support services, or your personal tutor.

You should keep your reliever inhaler close by, not locked away. Tell a friend where you keep it, and what to do if you have an asthma attack. Our asthma at school page has more information on staying safe in school.

Severe asthma support

Did you know severe asthma counts as a disability according to The Equality Act 2010?

That means you can get support from disability services at university or school. Plus, you could apply for a Disabled Students Allowance.

Missing classes or deadlines

If you’re missing classes or deadlines because of your asthma, the best thing to do is speak to your teacher or tutor as soon as possible and explain the difficulties you’re having.

They may be able to extend your deadlines and offer you more support. Talking about missing deadlines and classes will feel easier if you have already told teachers and tutors about your asthma before.

Speak to your GP or asthma nurse if stress or anxiety is triggering your asthma. The school nurse or welfare officer at your school, college, or university might also be able to help you.

If you feel like you’re not getting the support you need, you could make a formal complaint.

Asthma at university and college

If you’re starting college or university, your daily routines may change, especially if you’ve left home. Try setting a reminder on your phone to take your preventer every day as prescribed. If you’ve moved away, make sure you share your asthma action plan with your new housemates, this way they know what to do in case of an asthma attack. 

You’ll also need to remember to get new inhalers before they’ve run out. An easy way to do this is to set up an electronic prescription service with your pharmacist and GP.

If you’re moving home, make sure you register with a new doctor as soon as possible. Get more top tips for managing asthma when you leave home for the first time.

Asthma during exams

Being prepared for exam season is not just about studying. Make sure you’re prepared with your asthma too.

We have made a list of practical things you can do to make sure asthma doesn’t get in the way of your exams.

Take your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed

By taking your preventer inhaler every day as prescribed, you’ll build up lots of protection against your asthma symptoms. This will help you to stay well during exams.

Keep your reliever inhaler handy

Always have your reliever inhaler with you during your exams in case you get any symptoms. Let your school, college, or university know that you may need to use it too.

Deal with your hay fever

Exam season often falls at the same time as pollen season. If your asthma is triggered by pollen, remember to start taking your hay fever medicines before you get symptoms. Make sure to choose non-drowsy antihistamines so that your concentration isn’t affected.

To find out more about hay fever treatments, visit our hay fever page.

Get help for dealing with exam stress

Stress can be an asthma trigger. So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by your exams, get support from your friends and family.

You can also try talking to your GP or asthma nurse about it. Booking an appointment won’t take long and then you can study without worrying about your asthma.

If you have been unwell with asthma and it has affected your studies, you could speak to your exams officer at school or college about special consideration. The exam board may be able to review your marks if you’re seen to be at a disadvantage. 


Last updated February 2021

Next review due February 2024

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