As parents in Hull wave their children off on their few first weeks of the new school year, medical professionals are advising asthma medicine to be kept close at hand, with school children being three times more likely to need it as the school year starts.
Last year, nationally, there were over 25,000 cases of under-16 year olds attending hospital due to asthma. The combination of coughs and colds, children getting out of the habit of using their inhalers during the summer break, air pollution and the stress of the new term, is thought to contribute to this spike in cases.
Dr Dan Roper, NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Chair said: “In the UK, 1 in 11 children are currently receiving treatment for asthma; we always see a significant spike in hospital admissions for this in September. This is believed to be linked to varying aspects associated with the start of the new school year including getting out of habit of using their preventer inhalers, cooler mornings and the possibility of increased activity levels.”
Across the country, medics are urging children, young people and their parents to prioritise taking their medication and preventer inhalers as prescribed.
Dr Roper added: “Keeping children safe at school is certainly the top priority for schools and parents. If your child suffers from asthma there are steps you can take to help them as the new school year, and ‘asthma season’, starts.”
The NHS outlines some simple steps parents can take to ensure their son or daughter’s treatment is managed and kept under control, including:
- Having a child’s up-to-date written asthma action plan prepared by a GP. The school should also have a copy of the action plan and teachers should be aware if pupils need help using their puffer
- Check with the pharmacist that your child is using their inhaler if they are old enough to use it by themselves
- Have a check-up before the school year sports lessons start
- Pack a spare reliever puffer and spacer in your child’s school bag, checking that the puffer isn’t empty or out of date
- Talk to the school about possible asthma triggers and whether staff members receive training on how to recognise and respond to asthma symptoms.
You can find more advice on asthma at school via the Asthma UK website here: www.asthma.org.uk/advice/child/life/school
[Ellie Weaver – NHS Hull Clinical Commissioning Group]