September 2011 Asthma Adviceline Case Study
Ann, telephoned the Asthma society with a query regarding her 10 year old son, Sean's, asthma and the return to school in September.
She had a particular reason for this query as last year in September Sean had an asthma attack at school which warranted a visit to the hospital. She explained that since then the dose of his preventer /controller inhaler has increased. Sean also commenced on an anti leukotriene medication to give him better control.
Asthma Nurse's Advice
Children’s exacerbations peak as the school term begins. Paediatric asthma admissions peak as the school term begins and paediatric asthma admissions increase by approx 12% in September and October. There are many factors contributing to this peak, including exposure to indoor and outdoor allergens, colds and flu viruses and changing weather conditions. Irish children lose an average of 12 days at school every year due to asthma.
It is very wise to contact the Asthma Society and get advice on preparing for the return back to school. Being in control is very important and knowledge gives parents the power to make informed decisions with regard to the management of their children's asthma.
After speaking to Ann on Sean's present asthma control, it appeared that he was quite symptomatic over the previous two weeks with coughing at night and disturbed sleep.
I advised Ann to visit her GP to discuss Sean's asthma managment plan. I also advised Ann was on the step up of treatment in relation to asthma management.
The Asthma Society recently launched its new children’s Management Plan and “Back to School with Asthma” programme this is a guide for parents and children with asthma of steps they should take to ensure good control.
Week 1 – Be in Control
Make an appointment to see your GP now for an asthma review.
Ask your doctor for a written asthma plan for your child – this will help you to manage your child’s asthma. Download the new “Children’s Management plan from the Asthma Society website
Make sure your child takes their medication as prescribed – especially preventer medication
Ask your healthcare professional to check your child’s inhaler technique
Week 2 – Packing the school Bag
Make sure that you pack a reliever inhaler and that your child has one with them at all times – for children less than 12 years they may need a spacer device for some inhalers.
Get an Asthma Attack Card from the Asthma Society – complete the details and put this with the reliever inhaler in the school bag. Study the information on the card with your child so that they can follow the “5 Minute Rule” in case of emergency
Week 3 – Visit the School if possible
Make sure that the school is aware that your child has asthma.
Check if the school has an asthma policy and knows what to do if a child in their care has an asthma attack. Contact the Asthma Society for a copy of their “Best Practice Asthma Management Guidelines for Schools in Ireland” booklet.
Week 4 – Back at school
In order to keep your child healthy over the autumn and winter period.and for ongoing advice observe the Asthma Society of Ireland website, www.asthmasociety.ie Check for advice on exercising with asthma, flu vaccine and winter sports.