Back to school: Ensuring a safe and asthma-ready return for WA Kids
As Western Australian kids return to school on Wednesday 31 January 2024, the Institute for Respiratory Health urges parents and carers to ensure their child is asthma-ready for the new school year.
According to Professor Moodley from the Institute for Respiratory Health there are many factors that can lead to an asthma flare-up at this time of year. He explains, “Preventer inhaler routines get easily disrupted over the summer holidays, so kids’ airways can be more sensitive to triggers when they go back to school.
“Schools are typically deep cleaned during the summer holidays and exposure to cleaning agents can trigger an asthma attack. It’s also an exciting, but often daunting time of year for children.
“We know that emotions like fear, stress, or excitement can trigger asthma symptoms. Kids can also be more active when they are back at school.”
To proactively prevent asthma attacks, Professor Moodley emphasises the importance of parents taking steps to ensure their kids are getting back into the routine of managing their asthma.
He advises, “As kids return to school, parents must ensure that their children are taking their preventive medicine consistently and following their asthma action plans.
“This includes checking their reliever inhaler isn’t empty or out of date, making sure teachers know they may need an inhaler and ensuring they always take their reliever inhaler with them.”
Parents are encouraged to be proactive in managing their child’s asthma and should check the following:
Asthma Action Plan:
Ensure that your child has an updated Asthma Action Plan in place. This document outlines the steps to be taken in case of an asthma attack and helps teachers and school staff understand how to best support your child’s respiratory health.
A spacer is an invaluable tool for delivering asthma medication effectively. Make sure your child has a trusty spacer on hand and educate them on its proper use. This small device can significantly improve the delivery of medication, making it more effective in managing asthma symptoms.
Reliever Medicine: Equip your child with their reliever medication. Whether it’s an inhaler or other prescribed medication, having it readily available is essential for prompt treatment in case of an asthma flare-up.
Professor Moodley said, “Consistency is key when it comes to managing asthma in school. Parents should communicate openly with teachers and school staff, providing them with the necessary information and tools to support their child with asthma effectively.”
It is estimated more than 350,000 school days are lost each year due to asthma-related symptoms in children.