Be prepared the February asthma spike
What is the February asthma spike?
Throughout the year there are significant increases, or ‘spikes’, in asthma presentations to hospitals and emergency departments. Approximately 1 in 10 children in Australia have asthma, and for children and adolescents with asthma these ‘spikes’ usually occur towards the end of holiday periods as they return to school and preschool. A significant ‘spike’ in asthma presentations and admissions to hospital of children and adolescents, experiencing severe asthma exacerbations, occurs throughout the first few weeks of February.
Why does the spike occur?
While there have not been direct links established, the February ‘asthma spike’ is believed to be largely due to children and adolescents coming into contact with asthma triggers that they have had time away from, as they are now returning to school. Forgetting to take their medication, and poor medication adherence, also places students at an increased risk of asthma attacks when exposed to triggers.
What can parents and carers do to help their child’s asthma at school?
- If your child is self-managing their asthma, or capable of taking their asthma medication independently, ensure that your child is always carrying their reliever medication (e.g. Ventolin, Asmol, Airomir and Bricanyl) as well as a spacer while at school
- Ensure that you have provided your child’s school/preschool with an updated Asthma Action Plan
- Ensure that your child knows how to recognise early symptoms of an asthma attack and check to make sure they are using their reliever medication properly
- Ensure your child will seek help from school/preschool staff if they experience asthma symptoms
- Ensure that your child’s asthma is being well managed and that their medication and management is reviewed annually by your GP (this is a good opportunity to also update the Asthma Action Plan required by your child’s school/preschool)
For more information, please contact The Asthma Foundation of Victoria on 1800 278 462 or www.asthma.org.au