Media Releases

Parents urged to avoid Feb “back-to-school asthma spike”

11 Jan 2023

Parents and carers of children with asthma are being encouraged to book in an asthma check up to avoid the annual February “back-to-school asthma spike”.

Dr Louisa Owens, paediatric respiratory physician and member of the National Asthma Council Australia Guidelines Committee said right now is a great time to help get children asthma-ready for the school year ahead.

“Going back to school should be an exciting time for kids and the last thing they want is an asthma flare-up that might see them end up in hospital or missing out on fun activities.

“Good asthma control is key to a healthy and safe start to the school year for the one in nine Australian children living with asthma. 

Dr Owens said that COVID-19 case numbers are expected to surge following Christmas and holiday celebrations and it was important for children with asthma to be vaccinated if possible before the start of the school year. 

“If parents are unsure about getting their child with asthma vaccinated, then we encourage them to have a discussion with their GP before their child starts the 2023 school year.

“January is an ideal time to have a full asthma check-up with your GP including a review of your child’s Written Asthma Action Plan, medications and inhaler technique for relievers and preventers ahead of the February back-to-school asthma spike,” said Dr Owens.

The sharp rise in children being admitted to hospital with asthma in February each year 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 possibly missing preventer doses over the holidays.

The NAC has prepared the following checklist for a symptom free start to the school year:

  • Schedule an asthma check-up with your health provider and discuss the COVID-19 vaccine for your child if you have questions
  • Share a copy of your child’s up-to-date Written Asthma Action Plan with school staff and after-school carers
  • Make sure your child knows to tell school staff when they have asthma symptoms
  • Make sure your child is taking any asthma prevention medicine as prescribed
  • Check that your child knows how to effectively use their inhaler by themselves (if old enough), or with help
  • Get the seasonal flu shot every year for your child and family members.

Download the National Asthma Council Australia’s Back to School Checklist here and more resources are available at including how-to video tutorials demonstrating the proper use of asthma medications.

For further information or an interview with a NAC spokesperson

please contact: Donna Le Page, Le Page PR Mobile: 0429 825 703

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