Asthma Australia warns of back to school spike in asthma hospitalisations

Asthma Australia warns of back to school spike in asthma hospitalisations

February 3, 2016

A SPIKE in asthma hospitalisations when children return to school has prompted a warning for parents to be prepared.

Asthma Australia wants mums and dads to speak to their doctors to update their children’s asthma action plans and make sure they are taking preventive medications as prescribed.

Aberfeldie mum Helen West knows all too well the impact asthma can have, with both of her children diagnosed with the lung condition.

Aidan, 12, has been hospitalised three times due to asthma with the most recent incident about two years ago when he woke up in the middle of the night struggling to breathe.

His attacks are triggered when he has a virus, while nine-year-old sister Ella’s asthma is more episodic and is set off when she exercises.

“Aidan was diagnosed when he was three. We had a trip to the emergency department as he was breathing really rapidly when he caught a cold,” Ms West said.

She has created a convenient “medibag” for Aidan, who also has anaphylaxis, including an asthma pump and EpiPen.

“He carries a pack pretty much everywhere he goes to deal with his medical needs. He copes really well because he is a very organised child,” she said

Ms West said she had arranged to speak to the nurse at Aidan’s new secondary school so they would be aware of his condition and triggers.

She said being organised helped the family feel prepared in an event of an asthma attack.

Asthma Australia chief executive officer Mark Brooke said they saw a spike in asthma hospitalisations when children headed back to school each year.

“Asthma action plans need to be provided to schools and we are urging parents to get ready early by seeing their GP for an asthma check-up before children return to school,” Mr Brooke said.

Respiratory paediatrician Adam Jaffe said it was wasn’t known why hospitals saw a peak in asthma related admissions at this time, but it could be because of increased exposure to respiratory viruses once children mixed with a larger number of peers.

Asthma Australia has advice including checklists to help parents prepare for school available online and its helpline.

Details: 1800 278 426 (1800 ASTHMA) or




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