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Teach asthma a lesson in West Kent

User AvatarPosted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 19/09/2014 11:26:46

Parents need to help their child to teach asthma a lesson, says NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group.

The number of children who are taken to hospital with asthma usually peaks during September. The beginning of a new school year, combined with the on-set of autumn, traditionally sees a spike in the amount of children suffering asthma attacks.

NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is asking parents, carers, teachers and healthcare professionals to act now and prevent a surge in hospital visits.

The CCG is supporting Asthma UK’s Teach Asthma a Lesson campaign which provides advice to parents on how to reduce their child’s chances of having a bad asthma attack.

The Asthma UK campaign urges parents whose children suffer from asthma to use the resources on its website such as sticker charts to monitor their child’s asthma and manage it.  The resources and further advice are available from www.asthma.org.uk.

This time of year also sees an increase in coughs and colds. Health advice for parents includes:

• Have a thermometer in the home and know how to check your child’s temperature - 37.5C (99.5F) and over is a raised temperature
• Have over-the-counter medicines such as liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen handy to bring down their temperature
• Help your child recover from a cold or cough by making sure they drink plenty of fluids and get rest. Give them time to recover from a cold – seek advice if it lasts longer than 10 days
• If your child has a bad cough that won’t go away, see your GP
• If your child also has a high temperature and is breathless, they may have a chest infection – seek advice from a GP
• If a cough continues for a long time, especially if it’s worse at night or is brought on by your child running about, it could be a sign of asthma
• If you’re worried about your child, trust your instincts and seek advice by contacting your practice or phoning NHS 111
• Look out for symptoms that may be a sign of a more serious illness such as being unusually sleepy, not passing urine for more than eight hours during the day or having a rash that doesn’t fade when a glass is pressed firmly against the skin
• Check out www.healthhelpnow-nhs.net for information on children’s health, symptoms of common childhood diseases such as measles and chicken pox and information on local services.

Dr Mark Ironmonger, West Kent CCG’s lead GP for children and maternity, said: “Parents can help their children avoid asthma attacks by making sure they use medication as prescribed. Preventative asthma inhalers can help children and adult asthma sufferers to avoid asthma attacks providing they are used correctly. It's also important to be aware that changes in temperature may trigger an asthma attack."

The CCG is also urging parents to encourage their children to wash their hands regularly to keep germs at bay, and to drink enough fluids and get rest if they do have a cough or cold to help their body fight the germs.

Children who are very ill or have an exceptionally high temperature which can’t be reduced with off the shelf pain relief, or a persistent cough and/or fever, parents should seek medical advice either from their GP or by calling NHS 111 when their GP surgery is closed.