Parents of children with asthma are being urged to take action as the number of fatal asthma attacks is set to skyrocket in the coming weeks.
A mum has described how she is ‘dreaded’ her asthmatic son will return to school after the summer holidays, as he is hospitalized almost every September.
Asthma and Lung UK said year on year there were spikes in hospital admissions for asthma attacks in September after children returned to school.
In 2018 – the latest data available – 1,795 children with asthma were admitted to hospitals in England in September, a sharp increase from the 435 admitted in August.
The trend was also observed in previous years. This has been attributed to a number of factors, including children’s exposure to more triggers – such as cold and flu viruses – when they return to school.
Another factor could be that young people go out of their usual routine of taking their preventive inhaler during the summer holidays.
Parents are advised to ensure that their children take their medication as prescribed.
They are also encouraged to ensure that children have their rescue inhaler and spacer with them to school, as well as ensuring that they have had their annual asthma check-up.
Rebecca Grandison, 42, from Cheshire, has to take her seven-year-old son, Wilfred, to hospital almost every September because his asthma is triggered by colds and flu, as well as changes in the weather.
“I’m dreading his return to school because I know he’s going to have an asthma attack and it’s awful to see him having one,” she said.
“No mother wants to see her son gasp and no matter how many times it happens, it’s never been easier to watch someone you love so much struggle to breathe.
“I usually have to rush him to hospital or call an ambulance if his inhalers aren’t helping enough, which is awful.
“We manage Wilf’s asthma well over the summer vacation because I can limit his exposure to things that trigger an asthma attack. But once he goes to school, he mixes with a lot of other children who have coughs and colds, and he is exposed to the cold air when he plays in the schoolyard, which leaves him hissing and running out of breath.
“I want to help raise awareness of the increased risk for children with asthma around September, so that parents know how important it is to monitor their children’s asthma during the summer holidays and continue to give them the drugs they need.”
Emma Rubach, Head of Health Advice at Asthma and Lung UK, said: “Back to school should be an exciting time for children, and the last thing a parent wants is to see their child at the hospital fighting for his life after an asthma attack. .
“But when kids come home after summer vacation, they can be exposed to more things that can trigger their asthma. Cold and flu viruses and dust mites are among the biggest culprits.
“Some children may abandon their usual preventative inhaler routines during summer vacation, which can make them much more vulnerable to an asthma attack.
“The best thing parents can do to prevent their children from having an asthma attack is to make sure they take their preventer inhaler – usually brown – every day as prescribed, it helps calm the inflammation in their airways and reduces the risk of an asthma attack.
“We encourage parents to make sure their child has their rescue inhaler – usually blue – and spacer at school to use if they have asthma symptoms and to make sure their child has a check-up. with their GP or asthma nurse, this should include checking to make sure they are using their inhaler correctly and have a written asthma action plan.
“We advise anyone who has a child with asthma to get more advice and support from the Asthma and Lung UK website or our helpline.”