PARENTS have been warned that children will be significantly more at risk of a deadly condition this September.
This comes as many children prepare to head back to school at the end of this week, before returning to a full five day week next week.
New analysis has revealed that children returning to school are four times more likely to being hospitalised for asthma in September compared to the previous month.
The most recent figures, from NHS Digital, revealed that 435 youngsters were hospitalised with asthma in August of 2018.
This soared by over 300 per cent to 1,795 the following month, when kids were back in the classroom.
Charity, Asthma + Lung UK, warned that changes in routine over the summer holidays can see children forgetting to take their preventer medicine (brown inhaler).
It could potentially leave them at risk of cold and flu viruses spreading in school, which are triggers for asthma.
Emma Rubach, head of health advice at Asthma + Lung UK, said: “Returning to school should be an exciting time for children, and the last thing any parent wants is to see is their child in hospital fighting for their life after an asthma attack.
“When children do go back after the summer holidays, they can be exposed to more things that can trigger their asthma.
“Colds and flu viruses and dust mites are some of the biggest culprits.
“Some children may fall out of their usual preventer inhaler routines over the summer break which can leave them much more vulnerable to an asthma attack.”
Emma said the best thing parents can do to prevent their children having an asthma attack is to “ensure they take their preventer inhaler (usually brown) every day as prescribed”.
“This helps calm the inflammation in their airways and reduces the risk of an asthma attack,” she added.
In London, one in 11 London children and young people have asthma.
Dr Oliver Anglin, clinical director of Children and Young People Transformation for NHS England London, said: “It’s really worrying that children’s asthma symptoms can flare up when they return to school.
“This is why we’re now six years into the #AskAboutAsthma campaign which aims to raise the profile of asthma and to highlight key ways in which children, young people and their families can manage their asthma and live full and unrestricted lives, without the risk of ending up in hospital.”
More than a million children in the UK have asthma, and every 2.5 minutes a child has a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.
“The warning signs that a child’s asthma symptoms are getting worse include coughing and wheezing at night or early in the morning, breathlessness, complaining about chest or stomach pain, or needing their reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week,” Dr Oliver explained.
Asthma + Lung UK also advises parents to download an Asthma School Card and make sure their child’s written asthma action plan is up to date.
Earlier this month, the charity warned that looming cloud of dirty air could prove dangerous for millions of asthma sufferers.
High levels of pollution combined with warm temperatures is causing a “toxic cocktail”, which pose a threat to people suffering asthma and other lung conditions.
What to do in an asthma attack – and how to spot it
Four people die every day of an asthma attack. Therefore knowing what to do in the case of an asthma attack could save lives.
- Sit up straight – try to keep calm.
- Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (usually blue) every 30-60 seconds up to 10 puffs.
- If you feel worse at any point OR you don’t feel better after 10 puffs call 999 for an ambulance.
- If the ambulance has not arrived after 10 minutes and your symptoms are not improving, repeat step 2.
- If your symptoms are no better after repeating step 2, and the ambulance has still not arrived, contact 999 again immediately.
You’re having an asthma attack if:
- Your blue reliever isn’t helping, or you need to use it more than every four hours
- You’re wheezing a lot, have a very tight chest, or you’re coughing a lot
- You’re breathless and find it difficult to walk or talk
- Your breathing is getting faster and it feels like you can’t get your breath in properly
Source: Asthma + Lung UK