Glasgow parents given asthma warning as back to school set to see risk double

·3-min read
Glasgow parents given asthma warning as back to school set to see risk double
Glasgow parents given asthma warning as back to school set to see risk double

Parents in Glasgow have been warned kids are at more than double the risk of a life-threatening asthma attack when schools return after the summer holidays.

More than 72,000 children in Scotland live with the condition, which killed 96 people in 2021, and over the past six years hospital admissions for kids aged five to 14 have more than doubled in August compared to July.

Charity Asthma + Lung UK Scotland has warned that changes in routine over the summer holidays can see children forgetting to take their preventer medicine, potentially leaving them at risk to triggers such as cold and flu viruses.

And they're warning parents to be on alert to spot the warning signs of an attack as schools return.

Common symptoms include coughing or wheezing a lot, finding it hard to breathe or breathing more quickly, pain the chest or stomach, being unable to walk, loss of appetite, being unusually quiet or complaints that an inhaler isn't working.

Asthma attacks are a medical emergency, but close to half of children under 18 in the UK do not go to hospital, instead managing it themselves with the help of their parents.

Senior research technologist Natalie Homer, of Edinburgh, saw son Isaac hospitalised in 2015 after returning to school.

She said: "Seeing your child in hospital because they are gasping for breath is every mum’s nightmare and that’s what I had to face when my son had an asthma attack when he returned to school in Autumn 2015.

“I always thought it was more important that Isaac take his inhaler when he had asthma symptoms but when he had a massive asthma attack and ended up in hospital, my doctor explained that I needed to make sure he took his preventer inhaler every day as that could prevent an asthma attack in the first place.

“With all the fun of summer, it can be easy to fall out of the routine of taking medicine but when the children return to school and winter bugs start circulating, it ca put them at risk of an asthma attack. Now I want to warn other parents to help their children with asthma stay safe when they go back to school.”

Asthma + Lung UK Scotland has provided the following top tips to help parents protect their children from asthma attacks this autumn:

  • Make sure your child is taking their preventer inhaler as prescribed to calm irritated airways; and that they carry their reliever inhaler at all times for on-the-spot relief if they get symptoms or have access to an emergency school reliver inhaler.

  • Arrange an appointment with your GP or asthma nurse to make sure your child’s written asthma action plan is up to date. Your doctor or nurse can check your child’s asthma and adjust their prescription to make sure they are getting the most from their medicine.

  • Contact Asthma and Lung UK’s Helpline on 0300 222 5800 (Mon – Fri; 9am – 5pm) to speak to a friendly nurse about how to manage your child’s asthma and how to talk to their school about their asthma. Click here for more info