Rise in child asthma deaths concerning

4 April 2012

Latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data released

Parents and carers of children with asthma are being urged to take the condition more seriously as new data reveals asthma-related deaths among under 15 year olds have more than doubled since 2006.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data recorded 17 deaths in 2009/10 for children under 15 years compared to seven deaths in 2005/06.

“This is the first time we have seen an increase in asthma-related deaths among children – it’s deeply concerning and should be a major wake-up call for parents,” said National Asthma Council Australia Chair Dr Noela Whitby AM.

“It’s imperative that parents and carers of children with asthma take the necessary steps to ensure their child’s condition is controlled by implementing an ongoing asthma management program and following their doctor’s advice,” she said.

While the overall asthma death toll has decreased significantly from a peak of 964 deaths in 1989 to the latest toll of 416 in 2010, Dr Whitby fears the recent rise in asthma deaths in children could be a sign parents are becoming too complacent.

“Asthma can be fatal so all carers need to be vigilant and ensure they have an up to date written asthma action plan for their child and schedule regular reviews with their doctor,” she said. More than two million Australians have asthma - one of the highest prevalence rates in the world.

Asthma can’t be cured but it can be controlled with asthma preventer and reliever medication and by following an up to date written asthma action plan.

The National Asthma Council Australia is also urging all Australians to ensure they are familiar with the correct first aid steps to help a child having an asthma attack, given that one in ten Australian children have asthma.

The Council’s recently launched Kids’ First Aid for Asthma chart can be downloaded from the National Asthma Council Australia website: www.nationalasthma.org.au - just click the red ‘Emergency’ tab on the home page.

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For further information or to arrange an interview with National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson please contact:

Rachael Nightingale
Ogilvy Public Relations
Tel: 03 86953511
Mob: 0449 881 980
[email protected]

Last reviewed April 2012