Asthma alert issued as children head back to care following summer break
Early childhood education and care (ECEC) services are being encouraged to work with parents and families to ensure children are “asthma ready” when returning to care following the summer break.
Asthma Australia have said that spikes in asthma flare ups are common when children return to care after the summer break, with a “significant increase” in hospitalisations and days away from care.
To combat the issue, and to support ECEC services to become “asthma ready”, Asthma Australia and TerryWhite Chemmart have created a checklist for parents and carers to use to help ensure their children are “asthma ready”.
“The period after Christmas holidays is often ripe for an increase in asthma flare ups – sometimes preventer medicines are not taken daily as prescribed over the summer holidays or children mix with others and there is an inevitable spreading of viruses,” said Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman.
“In preparation for returning back to care, we are advising parents and carers to review and update their child’s Asthma Action Plan with their GP, with support from their local community pharmacist.”
Pharmacist Krystal Tresillian said community pharmacists could provide parents with valuable resources to educate them about treating and managing asthma.
“Pharmacists can educate parents about the proper use of inhalation devices, especially if their children have just been diagnosed and they are feeling uncertain or overwhelmed,” she said, adding that it was important that parents and children are thoroughly educated about the condition, are aware of triggers and warning signs, and know what steps to take in the event of an attack.
Ensure parents complete a three-step checklist
1 – See their doctor for a signed Action Plan or Care Plan. Most ECEC settings and schools require an updated plan for each child with asthma at the start of the new year.
2 – Check with the ECEC setting or school about their medication policy and work with staff to find the best way to manage your child’s asthma medication, including before physical activity.
3 – Make time to talk with educators and other relevant staff about your child’s asthma, their asthma plan and their usual triggers, symptoms and medications.
- Difficulty breathing
- Coughing or wheezing
- Difficulty speaking a full sentence in one breath
- Tightness of the chest.
In the event of an asthma flare-up start Asthma First Aid:
- Sit the person upright and reassure them
- Give four separate puffs of the blue/grey reliever puffer
- Wait four minutes, if no improvement give four more puffs of the blue/grey reliever as above
- If there is still no improvement, call an ambulance on 000. Mention that someone is having an asthma flare up and keep repeating the four puffs every four minutes until the ambulance arrives.
For more information about preparing an asthma management plan, see your local GP or pharmacist, visit Asthma Australia’s website or call the 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462).