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Back to School Preparation for Children with Asthma

September is fast approaching and the Asthma Society of Ireland is urging parents to get their child's asthma under control before the start of the school year. To help parents prepare for the new school term and to ensure their child's asthma is well controlled we have developed a 5 Step Back to School Plan;

Step 1: Know All You Can About Asthma
Step 2: Make an Appointment to See Your GP
Step 3: Visit the School
Step 4: Pack the School Bag
Step 5: Become a Member of the Asthma Society

Asthma is a serious health condition affecting one in five school children in Ireland. Children with asthma lose twelve school days, on average, every year because of their condition. The beginning of the new school term sees a peak in asthma exacerbations, with paediatric asthma hospital admissions increasing by approximately 12% in the months of September and October each year. By following the 5 Step Back to School Plan and becoming a member of the Asthma Society of Ireland, parents can keep their child healthy and their asthma under control throughout the new school year.

Sharon Cosgrove, CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, said 'Each year, at the beginning of the school term, there is a sharp rise in the number of children and teenagers being admitted to hospital because of asthma. In response to this alarming trend, the Asthma Society of Ireland's Back to School Plan aims to arm parents with the knowledge and advice they need to make sure their child has a healthy transition into the new school year. Asthma attacks are dangerous and frightening for young people, and in the worst case can be fatal; however by taking the right precautions and with good asthma control children and teenagers with asthma can lead full, healthy and active lives.'

Dr Basil Elnazir, Chairperson of the Asthma Society Medical Committee commented on the Back to School Plan; 'These are some simple steps that parents and children with asthma can take to ensure that they stay healthy and enjoy optimal asthma control. If the child has stopped taking their preventer medication over the summer holidays now is the time to start back using it again as it can take a few weeks to get maximum effect.'

5 Step Back to School Plan

Step 1 - Know All You Can About Good Asthma Control
Well controlled asthma is the key to helping your child stay healthy and active. Good asthma control comes from knowing about symptoms, triggers, medication and what to do in an asthma attack. Information videos on inhaler and spacer technique are available on our web site here.

Step 2 - Make an Appointment to see your GP for an Asthma Review
It is essential for every child with asthma to have a written asthma management plan. Ask your GP for an asthma management plan for your child. The plan will be developed in partnership with you and will be tailored to your child's needs.

Ask your GP, nurse or pharmacist to check your child's inhaler technique and always ensure that your child takes their prescribed medication, especially controller medication.

Discuss with your GP if your child should avail of the flu vaccine before returning to school.

Step 3 - Visit Your Child's School
Make sure that the school staff members are aware that your child has asthma and that any necessary documentation is completed by you and your GP.

Check if the school has an asthma policy and knows what to do if a child in their care has an asthma attack. If they don't, give them a copy of the Asthma Society's free guideline for schools, 'Best Practice Asthma Management Guidelines for Schools in Ireland', which is also available here.

Step 4 - Packing the School Bag
Make sure that you pack a reliever inhaler and that your child has one with them at all times- children younger than 12 years may also need a spacer device.

Keep an Asthma Attack Card with your child's reliever inhaler in their school bag and ask staff to study the card so they know what to do if your child has an exacerbation.

Step 5 - Become a Member of the Asthma Society of Ireland
By becoming a member of the Asthma Society of Ireland you can keep up to date throughout the school year on the latest advice on how to keep your child healthy, as well as receiving our Asthma News magazine and notification of free asthma clinics in your area.


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