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Get ready for school term as asthma can hit hard; ASK THE EXPERTS.

THE number of children with asthma admitted to hospital is expected to peak at the start of the new school year.

Asthma UK has put together advice for parents in a bid to keep their children's condition under control and prevent the need for hospital care.

The warning comes as asthma admissions peak in September - figures suggest they can be up to 58% higher for children under 16 than the average for other months of the year.

Erica Evans, head nurse at Asthma UK, said: "Children's admissions for asthma peak annually in September, which coincides with the start of the new school year.

"There are a number of possible factors involved, including the spreading of colds and viruses, the potential stresses that a newschool term can bring and children not taking their regular preventer medicine over the summer holidays.

"We also know that a quarter of children with asthma miss six or more days from school a year as a result of the condition, which can have a significant knock-on effect on school work."

The charity is urging parents of children with asthma to take a range of simple, precautionary steps this month in order to prepare for the school term ahead. These include: Get a personal asthma action plan for your child.

Having a tailored plan for your child can help you recognise when their asthma is under control, when it's getting worse and what you should do about it.

Evidence suggests those with a plan are four times less likely to have an emergency hospital admission for their asthma; Ensure your child has an asthma review.

Ms Evans said: "A child should have a review every six to 12 months and this is an important opportunity to ask questions about their medicines and asthma triggers, and to check inhaler technique.

"It's also important to see the GP or asthma nurse whenever your child's asthma symptoms get noticeably worse, as their medicines may need to be changed or adjusted." Find out how your child's school manages asthma.

Asthma UK said it is important the school has an asthma policy and it is vital parents ensure children have easy access to their asthma medicines at school.

Ms Evans said: "It's essential that parents and school staff work together during the school year to make sure that asthma is well-managed and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions for the condition.

"Asthma is the most common long-term condition among children, but the vast majority of pupils with asthma should be able to lead full and active lives, as long as their condition is under control and they are well supported by school staff." For more information about asthma visit www.asthma.org.uk or contact the Asthma UK advice line on 0800 121 62 44

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Parents can help asthmatic children prepare for school
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 16, 2010
Words:472
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