It’s worrying that if your child has asthma, they’re three times more likely to end up in hospital when they go back to school in September than any other month.
But there are simple steps you can take to protect your child from a potentially life-threatening asthma attack – starting now.
3 steps to a safer summer holiday for your child
Many parents looking after a child with asthma tell us that school holidays can be stressful. Juggling childcare when you’re working, keeping your children occupied, coping with a lack of school routine, and worrying about whether their asthma will come on while someone else is looking after them…
Use these three things to help your child stay well and keep your stress levels down over the school holidays. This will protect them when September arrives too:
1. Puff on a preventer every day
Your child’s preventer medicine (usually a brown inhaler) can only protect them if they use it as prescribed, so make sure they keep taking it every day.
Why does this help? - Preventer medicine works over time to reduce sensitivity, swelling and inflammation in your child’s lungs so they’re less likely to react to triggers (such as pollen or animals) and won’t be bothered by symptoms. “It takes time to build up the full protection of a preventer inhaler,” says Head of Helpline, Sonia Munde, “so it needs topping up each day to make sure it can work hard to keep your child’s lungs protected through summer, and when they’re back at school.”
Make it easier - While you’re out of the usual routine, try setting a reminder on your phone, and your child’s, or keeping a medicine chart on the wall that your child can tick off every time they’ve taken their preventer medicine.
2. Share the care
Store a picture of your child’s up to date written asthma action plan on your phone so you share it with anyone who looks after your child during the summer.
Why does this help? - An asthma action plan helps you, or anyone else looking after your child, feel confident about keeping up your child’s asthma medicines routine over summer. It also shows how to spot the signs that your child’s asthma is getting worse, and what to do if they are. Using an asthma action plan means your child is four times less likely to end up in hospital because of their asthma.
Make it easier - If your child doesn’t have an asthma action plan, download one and fill it in with your child’s GP or asthma nurse.
“Max has had asthma symptoms since he was a baby, so people used to be anxious about me leaving him with them. But his written asthma action plan reassures them as it provides all the information they need to keep him well. Max already knows what to do, but the action plan means that other people do too - even when he can’t get the words out because he’s having symptoms.” – Fiona, mum to Max 11
3. Be emergency-ready
Your child needs to keep their in-date reliever inhaler (usually blue) with them always.
Why does this help? - It means your child or their carer can act quickly if they get symptoms. A reliever works by treating asthma symptoms on the spot – to stop an asthma attack in its tracks.
Make it easier - You could try keeping it in a purse or box that the child has decorated themselves with a clear picture label on it, and point it out whenever you hand your child over to someone else’s care.
“We keep Rosemary’s blue inhaler at the end of her bed so we can get to it easily at night if she needs it, and during the day she keeps it in her pink backpack which she takes everywhere.” – Tammy Gore, mum to Rosemary 6
Last updated June 2017