AsthmaWith time flying by, we are now right in the middle of the month when admissions to hospital due to exacerbation of asthma are at their highest rate. With the changing season and fluctuating temperature (hard to imagine in the midst of the present heat wave) hospital admissions soar.
There are 1.1 million children in the UK living with asthma (Asthma UK) and 4.3 million adults, and asthma causes a child to be admitted to hospital on average every 20 minutes. Asthma takes 3 lives every day and perhaps more worryingly, research has shown that around 2/3 of these deaths are avoidable if medication is used properly
What causes asthmaAsthma is caused by an inflammation of the airways and a build up of mucus. It can be triggered by a number of different factors which will vary according to each individual person. A few of these are temperature change, dust, exercise, allergies, stress and pollution. Knowing your triggers and symptoms is vital to keeping healthy and staying out of hospital.
How can you help?So if you do have an asthmatic child, what can you do to help them on their return to school?
- Check that their inhaler is in date and has plenty left in it. Make sure they have one in their bag if they are at Secondary School and one in the office as well
- If they are still at primary school they should have a spacer as well (see picture)
- Educate them to be aware of their triggers, for example will the changing temperature impact on their capacity to do P.E without getting breathless. If so seek advice on how to manage this - do they need to take their reliever 20 minutes before P.E?
- Try to encourage them to use their preventer regularly to avoid the symptoms occurring.
- Get the practice nurse to check their inhaler technique, or visit the asthma UK website and watch their video clips
- Complete an asthma action plan (downloadable through the asthma UK website)
People with asthma are also more at risk of becoming seriously unwell if they contract the flu so it may be worth checking with the GP surgery as to whether they are eligible for the flu jab.
So who is eligible for the flu jab with the ever changing world of the NHS?
As it currently stands:
- Every child aged between 2 & 4 will be offered the vaccine by their GP.
- All children in years 1 - 3 will be offered it in schools, (dependent on local commisioning arrangements)
Asthma is a completely manageable condition with the right medication / action plan so by following the advice above and considering getting your child immunised perhaps you will be able to avoid the dreaded Emergency Department this winter
To find out more about first aid in asthma why not book onto a first aid course www.safety-first-welling.org