Warning over back to school asthma risk

Charity urges parents to be on alert for asthma attacks with rise in hospital admissions after summer months

Wednesday 14th August 2019

Parents are being warned of a ‘back to school’ risk of life-threatening asthma attacks.

Analysis carried out by Asthma UK has found hospital admissions for children aged five to 14 increased by 70% when children returned to school in August, compared to the previous month.

The number of admissions in September was also more than double that of July.

The charity says that changes in routine over the summer months means children may forget to take medication to prevent asthma attacks and leave them more exposed to triggers such as cold and flu viruses.

GP Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK, said: “The ‘back to school effect’ of asthma should not be underestimated as it is not only detrimental to children’s education, but it could kill.

“This August, children in Scotland should be in the classroom, learning and playing with their friends, not in hospital fighting for their lives after an asthma attack.

“Parents need to ensure children are taking their preventer inhaler which builds up protection in their airways over time so that if they come into contact with triggers such as colds they are less likely to have an asthma attack.”

Asthma, which leaves people struggling to breath, claimed the lives of 114 Scots last year.

More than 72,000 children in Scotland have asthma and adults are being urged to be aware of signs the illness is worsening and what action to take by getting information and support.

Advice to prevent attacks includes making sure a child is taking their reliever inhaler as prescribed and carrying it at all times.

Parents and carers are also advised to check with their GP or asthma nurse that their child’s asthma action plan is up to date.