Parents, did you know that Breathe Easy Week is taking place next month (22-28 June)? This is an initiative started by the British Lung Foundation, to raise awareness and focus on lung health to ensure everyone can breathe clean air.
To support your child with their asthma and wheeze GP Care Group, Community Children Specialist Asthma Nurse, Tori Hadaway has shared some useful tips on steps you can take towards protecting your child from having an asthma attack.
What you can do to improve your child's health
- Household smoking makes your child breathe in toxic chemicals from your skin, clothes, and furniture.
- It increases the risk of bronchiolitis, pneumonia, wheeze, and asthma.
- Asthma symptoms are worse, attacks are more severe and occur more often, they need more medication.
- For more information visit the Tower Hamlets Quit Right website or contact 02078820320
How to protect your child from an asthma attack
- Take your preventer (brown, purple, or orange inhaler) with a spacer EVERY DAY – this calms lung inflammation, prevents attacks, and reduces symptoms.
- Take your spacer home and wash it (you should get a new one every year) – school-aged children don't need a masked spacer and do better with a mouthpiece.
- Check you know how and when to wash and use your spacer. Click here for information
- Make sure you have a wheeze/asthma/allergy plan at school and home.
Changes to school Nurse reviews
School Nurses will not be doing Asthma reviews in school this will be done yearly by the GP at your annual review. Every child will have a Standard Asthma plan that the school will provide and you will need to sign.
Make sure you give a copy of your child's Individual Asthma Plan from your review to the school. School nurses will still be doing Allergy Plans which need to be updated yearly.
Treating your child's hayfever treats asthma
If your child has hayfever this can trigger asthma. It's important that your child takes their hayfever medication and nasal spray daily in the summer months when the pollen is high.
Contact your GP or Nurse if the hay fever is not controlled.
When your child's asthma/wheeze gets worse, follow the below action plan.
Think: Are they coughing or wheezing? Breathing difficulty? Tight chest?
Intervene: Reassure the child, sit them upright and slightly forward.
Medicine: Give 10 puffs of the blue inhaler using a spacer.
Emergency: If there is no improvement or if you are worried call 999. If you're waiting for an ambulance, give another 10 puffs of salbutamol.
Is your child not getting better and you have an adrenaline pen? If in doubt about your child's improvement, it's important that you use the adrenaline pen. There may be no signs as the signs of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) may not always be obvious.
Does your child need their blue inhaler more than 10 puffs every 4 hours?
See your GP or hospital asthma team as your child may need extra medication or even hospitalisation. Visit Jext for more information about anaphylaxis and watch this video for simple steps on how to use an EpiPen here.
Is your asthma plan up to date? Book your child's yearly asthma review
You should have an asthma review for your child with your GP or practice nurse at least once a year for a new spacer and individual asthma/allergy plan that must be taken to school.
Book a review earlier if:
- A salbutamol inhaler is needed more than three times a week
- Your child has frequent daytime asthma symptoms, or asthma is waking them up at night.
- You have attended the emergency department or needed steroid tablets or liquid for child's your symptoms.
Booking an asthma review during the summer holidays may prevent a term-time asthma attack.
Useful Resources for parents
Mental Health Services
Kooth – Trained councilors with peer support for 11years old and over
Children with Asthma and allergies should be going to school as per RCPCH guidelines. if your child is not going to school discuss with your GP and follow Government guidelines
Asthma UK – Going back to school
Asthma and Wheeze information
Monkey Wellbeing – Children with wheeze
Asthma Innovation Research Books on asthma and children's allergies
Allergy UK – guidance for schools
Allergy UK – Starting a new school