Asthma – top tips to swerve the September (back to school) Surge.
In the UK there are 1.1 million children suffering with asthma. That means that each classroom in the UK has on average three children who suffering from asthma.
The number of children needing emergency treatment doubles in September compared to August. When the pupils return to school in September there is always steep rise in children being hospitalised with asthma attacks. It is recorded that in the UK a child is admitted to hospital approximately every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack.
So what could be the reason why children settling back into school find their asthma suddenly becomes unstable? And how can parents help?
Surveys conducted have shown that around two thirds of these children will probably have an asthma attack during the school day. The so-called ‘September Surge’ could be due to several factors:
• the onset of cooler, damp autumn weather
• exposure to cold and flu viruses, which are known triggers of asthma attacks
• schools asthma management and whether the child has immediate access to their inhaler if they need it
• reduced use of inhalers over the summer holidays this leads to a fall in the protective benefits of the inhaler medication on the child’s airways
• new schools,
• teachers and
• routines, and increasing stress for children at the start of term
Here then are our top tips that may help your child avoid the asthma spike:
• help your child to establish and keep a regular routine using their preventer inhalers over the summer months in preparation for September.
• ensure your child is competent at using their own inhalers properly, using spacers if appropriate. Remember practice makes permanent.
• Help your child prepare their own Personalised Asthma Action Plan (PAAP) with their asthma nurse or GP. (Less than 25% of children with asthma have a Personalised Asthma Action Plan).
Research shows children without a PAAP are four times more likely to end up in hospital than those with one.
• once your child has a PAAP share a copy with the school and at any activity clubs your child attends and the rest of the family
• store a copy of it on your phone so you can share it with any caregivers, friends or family who may look after your child.
A Personalised Asthma Action Plan contains all the necessary information on their triggers, how and when they need to take the preventers and relievers, how to spot if the asthma attack is worsening, indicators that their asthma may be becoming unstable and a clear action plan in the case of an asthma attack.
Before the end of summer rush, book an appointment to get your child’s reliever inhaler prescription renewed so they have a full and functioning inhaler for the new school year.
Provide your school with a spare inhaler with your child’s name on it, so your child can receive their medication even if they forget their own inhaler, it does happen folks .
NOTE: (Schools are now able to buy a spare reliever inhaler and spacer for emergencies for any asthmatic children within the school that need one)
Spotting the signs
Finally, understand the early warning signs your child could be more likely to have an asthma attack, as spotting these signs could help avoid it.
Asthma nurses report the following warning signs could indicate that someone’s asthma is becoming unstable:
• using the reliever inhaler three or more times a week
• Finding the reliever inhaler is not controlling symptoms for more than 4 hours
• coughing or wheezing at night or in the morning,
• breathlessness when talking
• struggling to keep up with friends, because of breathlessness
• developing a cold or being exposed to flu like symptoms
Spotting these early signs and getting additional help and support from the GP or Asthma nurse, should hopefully swerve the September Surge.
For more information on asthma, what it is and how to help if someone is having an attack, click here.
First Aid Training North East Ltd is a fully regulated First Aid Training provider; our trainers are highly experienced professionals who will tailor the training to your needs.
We run a variety of courses covering adult and child First Aid in a school setting: Paediatric First Aid covering the full Ofsted syllabus, the Fully Regulated Emergency First Aid at Work (EFAW) tailored to Schools and a short 4 hour Emergency First Aid for Schools course covering CPR, choking, asthma, head injuries, minor and major bleeds, fitting and other common medical emergencies in a school setting.
We are happy to arrange bespoke courses for you on many topics and cover specific illnesses such as diabetes, asthma, seizures and acute allergic reaction.
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First Aid Training North East Ltd provides this information for guidance. It is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid Training North East Ltd is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a practical First Aid course to understand what to do in a medical emergency.