Asthma attacks for children more likely after school return

21 August 2018, 06:37

asthma inhaler

Children are more likely to be hospitalised by asthma attacks when they return to school after the summer holidays, according to a charity.

Asthma UK said figures showed a 70% increase in hospital admissions in August, when children return to school, with 117 emergency hospital admissions in August last year, up from 65 in July 2017.

The charity believes a lack of routine in taking medicine and inhalers over the holidays could be behind the rise.

Asthma medication builds up over time, helping to protect the airways so a lack of routine use means attacks can be triggered by cold and flu viruses when children return to school.

More than 70,000 children in Scotland are thought to have asthma.

Asthma UK is calling on parents of children with asthma to follow its advice on how to spot an approaching asthma attack and how to avoid it.

Sonia Munde, head of services at Asthma UK, said "Going back to school should be an exciting time for children but many end up in hospital fighting for life after an asthma attack.

"This is extremely distressing for a child and their parent. It could be avoided if parents know how to spot their child's asthma is getting worse and know what to do if their child is having an asthma attack.

"Parents should not feel afraid to book an urgent appointment with the GP or asthma nurse if their child is using their reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week, coughing or wheezing at night or feeling out of breath and struggling to keep up with their friends."

Natalie Homer's son Isaac was hospitalised after picking up a cold which triggered a major asthma attack.

She said: "We weren't consistent with giving Isaac his preventer inhaler. This came back to bite us when Isaac was rushed to hospital fighting for his life.

"I had no idea that coughing at night and a tummy ache could be a sign that a major asthma attack was brewing. It was so frightening to see his condition deteriorate so quickly, to the point where he couldn't walk.

"With help from Asthma UK, I'm now clued up on the warning signs of an asthma attack and know what to do if Isaac's symptoms worsen.

"I want to urge other parents to get support from the charity, especially at this time of the year when children are at an increased risk of an asthma attack. Don't risk it - recognising the signs and taking action quickly could save your child's life."