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30 June 2017
As we head towards the long school summer holiday, whether you are planning a staycation or you’re heading off to some exotic foreign land, don’t let your child’s asthma derail your plans. Lucy from EPUT Community Health Services Bedfordshire blogs about her role as a nurse supporting children with asthma and provides tips on how to support children with the condition.
As part of the School Nursing service, I visit schools in Bedfordshire to advise and aid teachers on how to assist children with Asthma. A part of my role is to support them towards being an ‘Asthma Friendly School’. One example of how my role has achieved its ambition was when a child with asthma, while at a school, experienced a severe asthma attack which required the child to be taken to a hospital. Following the attack, I was called into school for a meeting at very short notice and was able to support the family who was confused about their son’s asthma regime. I liaised with the GP practice to arrange an asthma review and advised the school how to obtain emergency asthma inhalers. I am proud to say that my advice has proved to be a success as the pupil is now managing his asthma much better.
As we approach summer, as an Associate Practitioner supporting Children and young people’s health and wellbeing for the last 5 years, I always get asked questions about how summer affects children with Asthma and what tips I may have for parents or carers who look after children.
Hot weather can trigger asthma symptoms in some people, especially children and young adults. Although there is no single known cause of asthma, there are several factors that may contribute to a child’s asthma being triggered.
Summer weather tends to coincide with poorer air quality, especially in dense urban areas. When grasses start to green and grow, chances are that summer allergy-induced asthma is about to begin. The most common summer allergens, or triggers, are grass pollens.
Asthma doesn't have to hold a child back - whether they’re playing in the park, going to school or going on holiday. There are easy steps parents and carers can take to keep symptoms at bay. A combination of preventive actions and medication are usually all it will take. Here’s how to help them stay safe and happy;
• Ensure the child takes their medication regularly and properly – read the instructions that come with the inhaler carefully.
• Keep children away from smokers. If you are a parent/carer stop smoking. If you think you need help to stop smoking, you can contact NHS Smokefree for free advice and support or contact your GP.
• Keep children active – Regular exercise will help children with their breathing technique.
• Eat healthily – Along with regular exercise, this can help maintain a healthy weight, which may help keep a child’s asthma symptoms under control, as well as reduce the risk of other health problems.
• Know their triggers – It's important to identify possible asthma triggers by making a note of where your child is and what they’re doing when their symptoms get worse. Some triggers, such as air pollution, illnesses and certain weather conditions, can be hard to avoid.
In the UK, over 1.1m children have asthma. Asthma in children is more common among boys than girls. Children who develop asthma at a very young age are more likely to 'grow out' of the condition as they get older.