Media Releases

AFLW star urges asthma check-up before back to school

3 Feb 2021

West Coast Eagles AFLW player, Kate Orme, is urging parents to check that children with asthma have a healthy and safe start to the school year and avoid the February “back-to-school asthma spike”.

Kate has been announced as an Ambassador for the National Asthma Council Australia and said that as a person with asthma, she is keen to let children with asthma and their parents know that effective management of asthma is the key.

“Going back to school should be an exciting time for kids and the last thing they want is an asthma flare-up that might end up with them in hospital.

“I had my first asthma attack when I was six years old and I know first-hand how young kids can often be embarrassed about their asthma and using their inhaler. 

“However, the most important thing I have learnt is effective management of my asthma allows me to be at my best and right now is a great time to help get children asthma-ready for the school year ahead, “said Kate.

The National Asthma Council Australia is encouraging parents and carers of children with asthma to schedule a full asthma check-up with their GP including a review of their Asthma Action Plan, reliever device technique and medications.

The sharp rise in children being admitted to hospital with asthma in February is thought to be due to a change of environment or allergens, sharing a new set of bugs with classmates which can trigger colds and respiratory infections and less strict asthma management over the holidays.

Even without the bushfires from last year, children going back to school and those attending for the first time have to contend with the effect of COVID-19.

For the one in nine Australian children living with asthma, this could heighten emotions such as stress and anxiety that could trigger asthma symptoms and increase the likelihood of an asthma attack.

The National Asthma Council Australia has prepared the following checklist to help increase the likelihood of children with asthma having 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 inhaler by themselves (if old enough), or with help.
  • Teach your child how to use a spacer with their inhaler
  • Get the seasonal flu shot every year for your child and family members.

 Kate has her own Asthma Action Plan that her GP, specialist and team doctor all agree on, which is reviewed regularly.

“I am proof that asthma doesn’t have to be a barrier to your performance and involvement in school and athletics.

“Sticking to a GP prescribed treatment plan can truly transform a child's life, allowing them to perform better in school, build confidence in sports and simply get outside and play,” said Kate.

Parents and carers can also access the updated “My Asthma Guide” – https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/living-with-asthma/resources/patients-carers/brochures/my-asthma-guide

National Asthma Council Australia’s Back to School Checklist:
https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/living-with-asthma/resources/patients-carers/factsheets/back-to-school-checklist-for-kids-with-asthma-1

More resources are available at www.nationalasthma.org.au including how-to video tutorials demonstrating the proper use of asthma medications.

-- ENDS –

For further information or an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact: 
Donna Le Page, Le Page PR 
Mobile: 0429 825 703
Emaildonna@lepage-pr.com.au

04 Feb 2021

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