With an expected tripling of asthma cases as children return to school after the holidays, pharmacists can play a key role by asking parents if they have up-to-date ‘asthma action plans’ for their kids.
The National Asthma Council Australia has issuing a warning in anticipation of the surge in hospital emergency department visits and asthma hospitalisations that regularly occurs during the first month of the new school year.
“In Australia, 20-25 per cent of children’s hospital admissions for asthma occur in February, with possible causes including not taking medication during the holiday period, the stress of returning to school, allergic triggers such as mould and dust, as well as being in close proximity to classmates who can bring a new batch of cold and flu bugs,” the Council said.
Parents and carers are urged to take their children to their GP to have their asthma reviewed if they are using more of their reliever (Ventolin or Asmol) medications.
The Council also says parents can share a copy of their child’s up-to-date written asthma action plan with school staff and after school carers.