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05/08/19

Schools ‘out’ but inhalers are ‘in’ for children with asthma

Local GPs are urging parents to make sure children who have asthma include inhalers in their essential summer holiday kit. 

While they’re not at school, children don’t need to think about putting on uniform or packing their PE kit but they do need to remember to take their inhalers.

Dr Katherine Hickman, GP and clinical lead for respiratory health at NHS Bradford district and Craven clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) said: "All children with asthma are at risk during the summer holidays, when their asthma can turn into a ticking time bomb. Many fall out of the routine of taking their daily asthma medication during the summer and this, combined with cold and flu bugs when the weather changes, which are known asthma triggers, puts them at a higher risk of having a life-threatening asthma attack when they go back to school. If you’re the parent or carer of a child with asthma, please make sure they have their inhalers with them when they go out to play or when you go on holiday.”

Becky

Warm weather, changes in temperature and high pollen levels over the summer can also trigger asthma symptoms so it is important to take preventative measures including using inhalers regularly.

Dr Hickman says parents should ensure their child uses their preventer (brown) inhaler every day as prescribed over the summer holidays. This helps calm the inflammation in their airways and prevents them having an asthma attack if they come into contact with one of their triggers. They should also have their reliever inhaler with them when they go out in case they start experiencing asthma symptoms.

"If your child is using their reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week, coughing or wheezing at night or feeling out of breath and struggling to keep up with their friends, book an urgent appointment with their GP," she added.

Asthma is a serious condition and when it isn’t managed well it can lead to asthma attacks and being admitted to hospital. It’s also important to use a spacer if your inhaler recommends one. 

The NHS Bradford district and Craven YouTube channel has some useful short films which explain how to use preventer inhalers and reliever inhalers and colleagues at NHS Leeds CCG have created characters Becky and Billy to help explain the importance of preventer (brown) and reliever (blue) inhalers to children.

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