As half term hits and hundreds of children head for the outdoors, parents and carers are being asked to keep an eye on their little ones if they have asthma.
One in 11 children has asthma and it is the most common long-term medical condition.1 Children under the age of five account for the highest number of attendances to A&E.2 In reality a child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes because of an asthma attack.3
Cold weather is a major trigger for asthma symptoms but a few simple precautions can avoid a child being admitted to hospital.
Dr Sooraj Natarajan, Clinical Director for Children and Families at NHS Basildon and Brentwood Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Hospital admissions for asthma traditionally peak during periods of particularly cold weather. This is because children with asthma pick up colds and flu which circulate more during the winter months
“Children whose asthma is well-controlled are more likely to be able to withstand the risks of winter and avoid having to spend any time in hospital.
“It is also important to ensure your children are vaccinated against influenza.”
Tips on keeping asthma under control include making sure your child has a regular asthma review with your doctor or asthma nurse. If prescribed, taking regular preventer medicine is vital. Make sure your child wraps up well and wears a scarf loosely over their nose and mouth as this will help to warm up the air before breathing it in. Check your child has their inhaler with them and that they are using it in the correct way.
Basildon and Brentwood CCG is signposting parents, carers and people who work with children to an online asthma awareness course from Supporting Children’s Health.
The free module takes around 45 minutes to complete and will help people:
- Understand how asthma may affect a child’s quality of life
- Recognise some of the triggers that may affect children with asthma
- Understand how medicines work and how different inhalers are used
- Recognise signs that a child may be developing as asthma attack
If you or your child feels unwell visit your pharmacist or call NHS 111. For more information on staying well this winter visit www.nhs.uk/staywell
2 Health and Social Care Information Centre – Focus on Accident and Emergency