Back to school is the most common time for children’s asthma flare-ups

21 Jan 2019

The shoes have been bought, the stationery is labelled, but is your child asthma-ready for the back to school period?

For many kids, going back to school increases the likelihood of an asthma attack. Research has shown that hospital visits due to asthma surge during the first month of the school year. In Australia, approximately 20% to 25% of children’s hospital admissions for asthma occur in February.

Childhood asthma peaks in primary school aged kids and affects mainly boys, however the group at highest risk is adolescent boys.

Why is there a higher risk of asthma flare-ups?

There are a number of reasons for back to school asthma:

  • Not taking medication as prescribed during the summer holidays
  • The stress of returning to school
  • Allergic triggers at school such as mould and dust
  • Being in close quarters with new classmates who can bring a new batch of cold and flu bugs

The lead up to the new school year is an ideal time for parents and carers to consider what might trigger their child’s asthma, and to take steps to prevent a flare-up.

Once your child has started back at school, keep an eye out to see if they’re using their blue reliever more often, (or ask them to keep you updated at the end of the school day).

If they are using their blue reliever more often, the best course of action is to take them to their doctor for an asthma review. Following a doctor’s prescribed treatment plan and managing air quality and environment supports your child to perform better in school, build confidence in sports and get outside and play with their friends.

What can I do to help my child be asthma-ready for school?

Here are some tips to help your child have a symptom-free return to school:

  • Schedule an asthma check-up with your health provider.
  • Share a copy of your child’s up-to-date written Asthma Action Plan with school staff and after school carers.
  • Ask your child to let school staff know when their asthma is flaring up.
  • If your child has exercise induced asthma, ensure they take their reliever before sport.
  • Explain to your child their asthma triggers and why it’s important to avoid them.
  • Make sure your child is taking asthma prevention medicine, as prescribed.
  • Check that your child knows how to effectively use their puffer by themselves (if old enough), or with help.
  • Get the seasonal flu shot every year for your child and family members.

Further links:

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