Asthma sufferers put on alert
If your child falls sick not long after returning to school, you’re not alone.
Asthma and Respiratory Foundation NZ is encouraging parents to prepare for the back- toschool spike in illness, where every year the start of the first term coincides with an increase in hospital admissions for children with asthma.
‘‘This is not unusual when going back to school after a long break, ‘‘ Teresa Demetriou, the foundation’s national education services manager says.
‘‘This can be due to children sitting in close proximity to others who may have coughs and colds, or having had less strict asthma management over the holidays. Other causes for the asthma flareups could be a change of environment, such as greater exposure to allergens in classrooms like mould spores and dust. Changing emotions can also be a trigger, such as high levels of stress and anxiety that often come with a return to school.’’
At school, increased exposure to germs and illnesses such as a cold or flu may also trigger an asthma attack, or can settle on the chest and turn into pneumonia.
‘‘Parents should ensure their child’s preventer medication is being used as prescribed and that a reliever inhaler is taken into school every day.’’
More than 460,000 people take medication for asthma.The foundation’s website has free resources available to download, including self-management plans.
The start of the first term coincides with an increase in hospital admissions for children with asthma.