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  • 03 September 2019
  • 2 min read

NHS warns parents ahead of back to school ‘asthma season’

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The stress of term starting is thought to contribute to the spike in asthma cases.

Parents are urged to keep asthma medicine close at hand this week, with the NHS warning that children are up to three times more likely to need medical help as the school year starts.

One in 10 young people has asthma, with spikes in demand for help from GPs and hospitals in the weeks after school holidays and an annual peak for children in September, health officials said.

The combination of coughs and colds circulating, children getting out of the habit of using inhalers during the summer break, air pollution and the stress of term starting, is thought to contribute to the spike in asthma cases.

Jacqueline Cornish, national clinical director, children and young people and transition to adulthood, at NHS England, said: “Millions of families know that asthma can bring stress and trauma, but simple common sense measures like taking medicines at the right time, giving children a spare puffer to take to school and checking in with a pharmacist for inhaler checks, can help parents manage the annual onset of ‘asthma season’ and go a long way to helping keep your child well and out of hospital.”

Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK and a practising GP, said: “The ‘Back to School’ effect of asthma can be frightening and potentially life-threatening for children returning to classrooms this week.

“It’s easy for children to fall out of routines over the summer and forget to take their asthma medicines. This means their asthma is a ticking time bomb and then when they catch a cold or flu at school, they are at risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

“Parents can follow simple steps to cut the risk of their child having an asthma attack, such as giving the school a reliever inhaler for their child and a copy of their asthma action plan.

“They should also ensure that their child takes their preventer inhaler, this helps to build up protection in their airways over time so that if they come into contact with triggers such as colds, they are less likely to have an asthma attack.”

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