School might be winding down for the year, but parents are being advised there is no school holiday for their child’s asthma care.

Asthma Australia, in partnership with TerryWhite Chemmart, is launching its 2019 Back To School asthma campaign to help safeguard families and schools for the start of next year.

Asthma Australia CEO Michele Goldman said it was vital that children continued with their prescribed asthma medication over the holidays.

“Asthma is in every classroom and back to school time is a high-risk period,” Ms Goldman said.

“Routines start to relax at this time of year but we stress for parents to keep up with their child’s asthma care.

“Well managed asthma over the holiday period will lower the risk of a flare-up and give children the best possible start to the school year,” she said.

Back to school asthma is a well-documented annual phenomenon which sees a spike in childhood asthma Emergency Department visits, hospitalisations and days off school.

To better prepare, parents are also being encouraged to visit their GP to ensure their child’s Asthma Action Plan is up to date, and to have a spare spacer and reliever medication ready and labelled for the new school year.

The 2019 Back To School campaign is also reaching out schools ahead of the holiday season.

TerryWhite Chemmart CEO Anthony White said all schools will receive a digital asthma information pack which includes an article to share in their school break-up newsletter.

“We have partnered with Asthma Australia over three years to extend the impact of their great work, and we hope to positively assist schools and families to be asthma-ready for the new school year,” said Mr White.

To further support this wonderful initiative, between the 3rd of January and 12th of February we’ll be giving out free bag tags and spacer labels when you speak with your local TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist about how to better manage your child’s asthma,” he said.

 

Schools are also being prompted to arm teachers with training via Asthma Australia’s free online asthma training course ‘Asthma First Aid Management for Education Staff’ available at asthmaonline.org.au

“We highly recommend teachers access the free training platform before the end of this term to be best prepared for ‘a back to school’ asthma flare-up in their classroom,” said Ms Goldman.

“For parents, it’s highly beneficial to arrange a meeting with your child’s new school teacher before holidays or as soon as school resumes,” she said.

Although the ‘back to school asthma’ phenomenon has been well documented internationally, the exact cause is not known.

Asthma is the most burdensome disease for children aged 5-14 years in Australia and has a greater negative impact on children’s lives than other disease or injury.

Asthma affects one in nine Australians with children aged 0 to 14 years making up 51% of all asthma-related hospitalisations.

For more information about asthma and resources for back to school, people can contact the free 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462) or visit https://asthma.org.au.

 

Interviews:

Michele Goldman CEO Asthma Australia

Associate Professor, Dr. Paul Robinson – Staff Specialist, Department of Respiratory Medicine Children’s Hospital Westmead

Belinda Smythe, mother two school-aged boys Aiden 9 (asthma) and Patrick 13 located in Warragul, Melbourne. See a YouTube video of the family here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DOgUCIYBnA

 

Facts and Stats

In 2015-16, there were 20,309 hospitalisations for asthma amongst children aged 0-14 years. This accounts for 51.5% of all asthma hospitalisations in 2015-16.

Asthma hospitalisations in children aged 0-14years in each state and territory per 100,000 population (2011-13).

 

State or Territory Yearly asthma hospitalisations per 100,000
Tasmania 157
Australian Capital Territory 204
Northern Territory 226
Western Australia 236
Queensland 293
Victoria 310
New South Wales 347
South Australia 361
Australia 309

 

About Asthma Australia

For over 50 years Asthma Australia has been the leader in asthma health care, research, and support. Asthma Australia delivers evidence-based preventative health strategies to over 500,000 people every year and provides support, training, and resources to the primary health care sector. The organisation funds vital basic science and population health research contributing to national and international understandings of asthma and how best to manage the disease.