Warning for parents as asthma season hits

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NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) are urging young people and their parents to prioritise taking their medication and preventer inhalers as prescribed, as millions of families prepare for the new school year.

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition for children in the UK, and being with a new group of classmates can also lead to the spreading of germs, cold and flu bugs.

One in ten young people has asthma, with spikes in demand for help from GPs and hospitals in the weeks after school holidays, and an annual peak for children in September.

Last year there were 25,128 cases of under-16s going to hospital with asthma, while recent analysis published by Public Health England found that GP appointments for children with asthma increase this month, with cases more than doubling and boys more likely to need help, while the total number of emergency hospital admissions for asthma typically jumps between August and September from around 3,500 to more than 6,000.

The combination of coughs and colds circulating, children getting out of the habit of using inhalers during the summer break, air pollution and the stress of term starting, is thought to contribute to the spike in asthma cases.

Asthma is a lung condition causing breathing difficulties, which can occur randomly or after exposure to a trigger like pollen, pollution, smoke, infections, colds and flu, and is among the issues being targeted by a new Children and Young People Transformation programme, a major new initiative from the NHS, working across the health service and with families to address the biggest challenges to the health of young people.

Tricia D’Orsi, Chief Nurse for NHS Southend and NHS Castle Point and Rochford CCG, said:

“Millions of families know that asthma can bring stress and trauma, but simple measures like taking medicines at the right time, giving children a spare puffer to take to school and checking in with a pharmacist for inhaler checks, can help parents manage the annual onset of ‘asthma season’ and go a long way to helping keep your child well and out of hospital”.

Asthma UK has advice on how to avoid a back-to-school asthma attack