The #AskAboutAsthma campaign aims to raise awareness of the lung condition, which affects around one in every 11 children and causes symptoms like coughing, wheezing and breathlessness.
The campaign, which runs from 11-17 September, encourages healthcare professionals and families of asthma patients to think about four key things when having conversations about a child’s condition:
- Get an asthma action plan in place.
Children and young people who have a proper written plan drawn up by a clinician are four times less likely to have to go to hospital for their asthma.
- Understand how to use inhalers correctly.
A preventer inhaler is one of the most important tools for managing asthma, delivering medicine exactly where it is needed to reduce inflammation caused by asthma – but if it is not used properly the benefits are greatly reduced.
- Schedule an asthma review – every year and after every attack.
An asthma review by a properly trained clinician after every attack helps to work out what went wrong, while an annual review helps to ensure the condition continues to be managed effectively.
- Consider air pollution and its impact on lung health.
Every asthma conversation should consider indoor and outdoor air pollution and how exposure to these triggers could potentially be reduced.
During #AskAboutAsthma week, the campaign organisers - NHS England’s London Babies, Children and Young People’s Transformation team - are hosting a range of resources including webinars, podcasts, and blogs, which are available for anyone to access. Details of all the events and information resources will be added to the campaign web page throughout the week.
Viv Marsh, Specialist Asthma Nurse and Black Country Clinical Lead for children and young people’s asthma transformation, said: “During autumn there is typically a surge in asthma attacks, as children return to school after the long summer break and may be exposed for the first time in a while to triggers such as seasonal allergies and viruses, cleaning products and other fumes such as air pollution. The #AskAboutAsthma campaign is a great way to encourage people to get thinking and talking about asthma, so I’d really encourage parents and carers to follow the campaign on social media, visit the website, and take up all the opportunities on offer to learn more.”
With the start of the school year underway, the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board has launched its Asthma Friendly Schools initiative which encourages all schools in the Black Country to welcome children with asthma and put simple strategies in place to ensure they can fully participate in school life.
Schools in the Black Country are encouraged to apply for Asthma Friendly School status and commit to making their school asthma friendly, help promote good asthma management for children and thus reduce asthma related absences at school.
Viv Marsh added: “Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition in children in the UK, with around one in 11 children and young people living with asthma. Our aim to ensure that every child with asthma can go to school and fully participate in all elements of school life. By signing up to our Asthma Friendly Schools initiative, schools are making a commitment that every member of staff knows what to do if a child has an asthma attack and that children with asthma can always has access to their reliever inhaler when they need it.”