GPs are important support for parents and carers of children with asthma in helping ensure they are ‘asthma ready’ for the school.
Every year there is a well-documented spike in asthma flare-ups when children return to school after the Summer break. This results in a significant increase in Emergency Department visits, hospitalisations and days off school. Not only is this unsettling for children as they start a new year at school, but often it impacts on time off work for the parents/carers also.
Why do asthma flare-ups happen at this time?
This pattern is consistent with international studies after the long summer school holiday break in other countries too. Our asthma experts tell us that major factors include:
- With the loss of routine over the summer holidays and business of the Christmas period, sometimes preventer medicines are not taken daily as prescribed and Asthma Action Plans are not adhered to as strictly.
- The inevitable spread of viruses when children return to school and mix with each other.
The 2020 Back to School campaign
Throughout January and February 2020, TerryWhite Chemmart will be ensuring parents and carers of children with asthma have:
- reliever medication, spacer, and mask, all clearly labeled with their child’s details,
- an inhaler technique demonstration to ensure their child is getting the correct dose of medicine into the lungs, and
- understand the importance of talking with their child’s teacher and school about asthma management for their child.
Visit the TerryWhite Chemmart store locator here < https://www.terrywhitechemmart.com.au/store-locator/ >
What role do GPs play?
GPs play a vital role in ensuring parents and carers of children with asthma are ready for the return to school:
- Remind parents of the importance of following their child’s Asthma Plan over the school holidays. Just because school stops, that doesn’t mean a child’s asthma medication does too. As you know, preventer medication can take a few weeks to reach its full effect. Parents and carers should remain vigilant with their child’s prescribed preventer medication routine over the school holidays and for a safe return to school with good asthma control.
- If parents have ongoing concerns or questions about their child’s asthma, they can call 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) our free telephone information and education service, to speak with an Asthma Educator.
- If you think they might benefit from ongoing education and support, refer your patients <https://asthma.org.au/health-professionals/refer/> to our COACH Program®.
- Identify the child’s key triggers, clearly list these on their Asthma ActionPlan and provide advice on trigger avoidance or management.
- Always refer to the Australian Asthma Handbook for best practice asthma guidelines.
Additional asthma resources and information
Australian Management Handbook v1.3
NAC Australian Management Handbook – Providing asthma management education for parents & children http://www.asthmahandbook.org.au/management/children/education
Preparing written Asthma Action Plans for children http://www.asthmahandbook.org.au/management/action-plans/waap-children
National Asthma Council – Asthma Action Plans