Parents and carers in the Black Country are being urged to include asthma care in their back-to-school preparations and help prevent a predicted “September surge” in asthma attacks.
Asthma is a lung condition that affects around one in every 11 children and causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing and breathlessness. It can be controlled very well with the right medication, but this needs to be taken daily and reviewed regularly to ensure it stays effective.
Every September there is a surge in children and young people being hospitalised because of their asthma, which is often linked to changes in weather and an increase in exposure to triggers such as seasonal viruses when children return to school. This surge is also the result of children falling out of their asthma care routine over the summer break, making them more susceptible to triggers that result in asthma attacks.
Local respiratory nurse, Louise Tipping, features in a video created by the NHS which provides parents with tips on managing asthma in their children for the return to school in September. You can watch the video on YouTube here.
Louise said: “Going back to school in September can have a big impact on children’s asthma symptoms. We always see a spike in the number of children and young people suffering asthma attacks, which can be very serious and even life-threatening.
“Now we are getting back into the routine of school, parents need to make sure their children are also getting back into the routine of making sure they take their medicine to prevent asthma attacks and are following their asthma action plans.
“This includes checking their reliever inhaler isn’t empty or out of date, making sure teachers know they may need an inhaler and ensuring they always take their reliever inhaler with them.”
Parents and carers are also being reminded to make sure their child’s asthma action plan is up to date.
Viv Marsh, specialist asthma nurse and Black Country clinical lead for children and young people’s asthma transformation, said: “Every child with a diagnosis of asthma should also have an annual asthma review, where their inhaler technique is checked, and they are provided with an up-to-date asthma action plan.
“The annual asthma review only takes 20 minutes, but it’s one of the most important tools we have for keeping children well and out of hospital.
“So, if your child is overdue their review, or is due one soon, I would strongly advise booking in the next few weeks to make sure their asthma management is optimal ahead of the return to school and the onset of winter.”