September is one of the riskiest times of the year for people with asthma, especially children. Doctors see a significant spike in hospital visits and admissions of children with asthma, as a result of what is known as the 'September Asthma Peak'.
This year, the Asthma Society of Ireland is recommending that parents of children who have asthma to use its September Survival Guide to ensure their children do not end up in hospital.
Asthma Consultant, Dr Muhammed Tariq, said: “Every September I see a notable increase in the number of children admitted with respiratory conditions. In the past 24 hours, one-third of the children admitted to my hospital were admitted with respiratory problems caused by viral infections at this time of the year, it is very common in September. The September Asthma Peak is caused mainly by viral infections and is particularly dangerous for children with asthma who have slipped out of their asthma management routine over the summer months. These children are particularly at risk of their asthma leading to a hospital visit.”
CEO of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Sarah O'Connor, said: "September is a particularly risky time for children with asthma. Doctors see a notable increase in asthma attacks and asthma-related hospital admissions, especially in children returning to school. But there are practical steps that parents can take to help reduce the chance of their child needing hospital care. Parents should refer to the Asthma Society’s “September Survival Guide” which can be downloaded from asthma.ie, which sets out every step parents can take to help avoid hospital admissions. Parents should also then follow up with the Asthma Society’s Adviceline nurses who will talk them through every step of the guide in more detail.”
The September Survival consists of the following steps to help keep your child safe this September:
Get the basics right:
Use the inhaler technique videos on asthma.ie to help your child take their inhaler properly
Make sure your child carries their reliever inhaler (usually blue) at all times
Check that they take their medication every day with a fridge planner
Leave a spare reliever inhaler in the school, with their name clearly labelled
If your child is participating in PE or other activities, pop a reliever inhaler and spacer in their bag
Never send a sick child to school
Show them how to wash their hands correctly and explain why this is so important
If you have an older child/teenager, they often require extra supervision and cannot be relied on to self-medicate independently - put systems in place as they may avoid taking medication
Getting help from your healthcare professional:
Get your child’s asthma reviewed by your GP in September
Update your child’s Asthma Action Plan if your child does not have one, put one in place. These are available at asthma.ie or you can call 1800 44 54 64 to have a copy sent to you
Call the free Asthma Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 to discuss your child’s asthma management with a respiratory nurse. Send any follow-up questions to the Asthma Society’s Facebook or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensure your child has received the flu vaccine
Talk to your school and teacher:
Visit the school and make sure your child’s teacher is aware that they have asthma
Explain what their triggers are and what to do if your child has an asthma attack
Check if there is a School Asthma Policy in place
If your child is starting a new school, speak to teachers about your child’s asthma
Contact the Asthma Society:
Our asthma nurses can help you manage your child’s asthma
We can send teachers our Asthma Friendly School resources or details on our Asthma Friendly Schools programme
We will send you our Asthma Attack cards/posters which show you how to use the 5 Step Rule.
The Asthma Society will launch additional school supports later in the year to help both teachers and parents to manage their asthma. Keep an eye on asthma.ie and the Asthma Society for any updates.
An asthma attack is a medical emergency. If your child experiences an attack, make sure they see a GP. An asthma attack can be fatal. One person dies every six days from asthma. In the event of an asthma attack, follow the “5 Step Rule”:
Stay calm. Sit up straight - do not lie down.
Take slow, steady breaths/
Take one puff of your reliever inhaler (blue) every minute. Use a spacer if available.People over 6 years can take up to 10 puffs in 10 minutes
Children under 6 years can take up to 6 puffs in 10 minutes
Call 112 or 999 if your symptoms do not improve after 10 minutes
Repeat Step 3 if an ambulance has not arrived in 10 minutes
If parents or teachers have any questions on managing your child’s asthma, they can now send them to the Asthma Society of Ireland on Facebook (@asthmasociety) and a respiratory nurse specialist will get back to you within three working days. If you would like to speak to a respiratory nurse, free call 1800 44 54 64 to make an over the phone appointment.