Admissions to hospital emergency departments peak for school and preschool children in the first weeks after each school holiday period.
One in nine children has asthma. As the Chair of the Asthma Australia Medical and Scientific Advisory Committee, Dr Simon Bowler, explains, “Australian hospitals see a peak in hospital emergency department admissions and hospitalisations at this time every year. Some experts argue it’s a result of children coming into contact with large groups back at school after a break and catching viruses which trigger their asthma. Others say it’s because of seasonal dust, pollens and mould. Whatever the reason, parents should check everything is in place to keep children with asthma safe at school and preschool.”
Dr Bowler advises parents to make sure children with asthma:
- Have an up to date asthma plan from their doctor – and their school or preschool has a copy if appropriate
- Take preventer medication as advised by their doctor
- Always have access to their blue reliever puffer medication and a spacer in case of emergencies
- Learn how to tell an adult they have asthma.
Asthma Australia manages schools and preschool education programs, funded by the Australian government. National Program Manager, Mr Tony Healy advises staff in schools and preschools to prepare for the new year by making sure:
- Asthma first aid training is up to date
- Asthma first aid /emergency kits are stocked as recommended by Asthma Australia
- Staff are aware of asthma policies and first aid.