The start of the school year can be busy enough without the added concern about your child’s asthma striking them in the classroom or playground.
But that’s just the time when kids are most at risk of asthma flare-ups, with a spike in asthma attacks and hospitalisation seen during the first few weeks of the school term every year.
When children return to classrooms, factors such as stress, a change of environment or allergens and less strict asthma management over the holidays can trigger asthma. A new set of classmates can also bring a new batch of cold and flu bugs, which are often the culprits behind asthma flare-ups.
What can you do?
Reduce the chances of this happening for your child by following these simple steps.
- Have an up-to-date written asthma action plan prepared by your doctor
- Ensure your child gets back into their asthma routine before the school year starts, including taking preventer medications every day if prescribed
- Ask your pharmacist to check that your child is using their puffer properly (if they’re old enough to use it by themselves) or visit our How-to Video library on inhaler use
- Have a check-up before the school year ramps up or sports lessons start to make sure things are going as well as can be
- Pack a spare reliever puffer and spacer in your child’s school bag, checking that the puffer isn’t empty or out of date.
- Ensure your child feels comfortable asking for help or telling their teacher if they are getting asthma symptoms
- Give the school and/or childcare a copy of your child’s asthma action plan and tell teachers and staff if your child requires help using their puffer
- Talk to school administrators about possible asthma triggers and whether staff members receive training on how to recognise and respond to asthma symptoms.
Taking these preventative measures before and during the first few weeks of school can go a long way to helping keep your child well and out of hospital.