If you have a child with asthma you’re probably well practised in managing the condition and knowing what to do if your child needs help.
The school summer break is a great time for days out and sleepovers, so don’t forget to share this important information with others who will be looking after your child.
Dr Ann-Marie Houlder, medical director for NHS England in the North Midlands said: “Asthma is a serious condition which caused more than 1,300 deaths in the UK last year, two thirds of which were avoidable.
“We’ve put together these five top tips to help keep children with asthma stay safe when spending time with relatives, friends and other carers”:
- Fill in and share an asthma action planIf you don’t already have one, you can download a child’s asthma plan from www.asthma.org.uk The plan can be filled in with a summary of information about your child’s condition along with the contact number for their GP or asthma nurse. Keep it up to date and give a copy to anyone who will be looking after your child. If they do need medical treatment when they are away from home the plan will help medical staff give them the most appropriate treatment. Why not take a photo of the plan and share it from your phone?
- Pack extra medication in case they lose an inhalerIf your child is old enough it’s best to let them carry their own reliever inhaler so they always have it handy. This might sometimes mean an inhaler gets dropped or left behind. Give the carer a back-up inhaler and explain how to use it, along with any other medication prescribed for your child’s condition.
- Discuss known and potential asthma triggersAsthma shouldn’t stop your child having fun, but if you know their asthma is triggered by an allergy to furry animals it’s best to ask carers not to take them to a petting zoo! Give carers a list of any known triggers for your child and make sure they understand the importance of avoiding other common asthma triggers wherever possible. You can find more information on www.nhs.uk including information on how the weather conditions can affect asthma sufferers, for example, hot or humid days.
- Explain what to do if your child has an asthma attackPeople who are not used to looking after someone with asthma may not recognise the early signs of an attack, such as coughing or breathlessness. Talk this through with carers and make sure they understand what they must do if this happens. In particular they need to know:
- a person suffering from an asthma attack should sit, not lie down, and should try to breathe deeply
- they should try to stay calm and take up to 10 puffs of their reliever inhaler
- it is essential to call 999 for an ambulance if the person does not have their reliever inhaler or does not recover after 10 puffs.
You could print out this advice just to be on the safe side. It’s always best to be prepared.
- Talk to your child about their asthma
Asthma is a long term condition so it’s a good idea to help your child to take ownership of managing their condition as they grow up. Explain the importance of taking their medication in the correct way, and of course make sure that you or another adult supervises until they are ready to take on this responsibility.