Expert advice on asthma as children return to classrooms | News

Expert advice on asthma as children return to classrooms

child using asthma inhaler and spacer Asthma experts at Birmingham Children’s Hospital are offering advice to parents and schools as children return to their studies – historically a time when they see a rise in asthma attacks.

Asthma and Lung UK’s recent report shows that, over the last seven years, hospital admissions for children aged five to 19 in Scotland, spike in August and September - a trend experienced at the hospital which sees a rise in attendances to its Emergency Department and admissions.

Around 1 in 11 children in the UK have asthma and, every ten seconds, someone is having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack. 

As classrooms open their doors after the summer break our expert team is offering their advice to ensure those with asthma remain symptom free.   

Dr Prasad Nagakumar, Paediatric Respiratory Consultant and Lead for Difficult Asthma and Associate Professor at the University of Birmingham said: “Sadly, we see an increase in asthma attacks in children across the UK at this time of year as they return to school. The change in weather, loss of routine and adherence to prescribed medications, increase in respiratory viruses seen in September or even increased stress levels may all play a part in this phenomenon.

“Asthma is a very common condition, with one in 11 children with the condition, and we at the hospital see the most serious cases of these, so it’s vital the condition is well managed to reduce the risk of a back-to-school asthma attack.”  

Just as you are getting ready for the new school year with new uniforms, shoes and books, we encourage families with children with asthma to check their inhalers and spacer devices too.   

Our team has put together the following useful and simple advice: 

Asthma reviews 

  • If your child has not had an asthma review in the last 12 months, please contact your GP surgery to book an appointment.   
  • Using the reliever (blue) inhaler more than once a week indicates poor asthma control and risk of an asthma attack. Please contact your GP surgery for a review.  
  • Please make sure the prescribed asthma inhalers are in date and you have an appropriate, clean spacer device.  

Take your preventer inhaler 

  • Continue to take/give the preventer inhaler every day as prescribed, even if there are no asthma symptoms.   
  • If you keep forgetting or have stopped having the preventer, it is even more important to start taking the preventer inhaler as soon as possible as recommended, even if there are no asthma symptoms.   

Know your asthma plan 

  • Make sure you/your child knows what to do when asthma symptoms worsen. 
  • Make sure the school has an up-to-date asthma action plan.   
  • Make sure you know what makes asthma worse. 
  • Make sure there is a reliever (blue) inhaler in school 
  • Don’t forget to order spare blue inhaler (if needed) from your GP.   
  • Always remember to use with the spacer - you may need to order a spare spacer for school.

Photo provided by IPCRG

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