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Back-to-school asthma risk warning

01 August 2013 10:38

Asthma attacks in children spike in September when schools re-open, a charity has warned

Asthma attacks in children spike in September when schools re-open, a charity has warned

Asthma attacks among children are more common when they go back to school after the summer holidays, a charity has warned.

Asthma UK says the increased risk occurs because children's treatment regimes are often relaxed during the six-week break.

It says there is a "September spike" in asthma attacks among children every year, due to exposure to common triggers such as cold and flu viruses.

As many as 75% of admissions could be avoided if children were taking their medication properly, the charity believes.

So when parents are busy planning for their family summer holidays and making sure they have asthma travel insurance in place for their well-earned break, they are also being encouraged to do everything they can to make sure their children stick to their treatment regimes to enjoy the maximum health benefits come September.

Prevention is recognised as a key part of managing asthma, with children continuing to use their inhaler twice a day considerably less likely to experience an attack.

The change of routine is seen as the problem during the summer holidays, as children may be with different carers who are not aware of their inhaler regime or families spend time away from home where the daily activities vary from normal.

With asthma travel insurance in place, parents have peace of mind in the event their children suffer an attack or more severe symptoms while they're abroad on holiday.

Asthma UK's deputy chief executive Dr Samantha Walker said the less regular inhaler use during the school holidays can be a "time-bomb".

The charity is running a Back to School campaign in an effort to remind parents of the importance of maintaining the inhaler regime.

Dr Walker said: "Those who forget to take their preventer inhalers over the summer will be less in control of their symptoms and therefore more vulnerable to asthma attacks come term time."

There are approximately 1.1 million children with asthma in the UK, which equates to around two children in every classroom with the condition.

Asthma UK says more than 25,000 children were hospitalised because of their asthma in 2011-12, with 18 children aged under 14 dying as a result of an asthma attack in 2011.