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Back to school asthma

Every year there is a well-documented rise in asthma flare-ups and hospitalizations when children return to school after the Christmas break.  Not only is this unsettling for your child as they start a new year at school, but often it impacts on time off work for the parents/carers also (tell us about your child’s ‘back to school asthma’ experience here). 

Why do asthma flare-ups happen?

Our asthma experts tell us that major factors include,

  • children mix with others and there is an inevitable spreading of viruses
  • when children’s asthma is well controlled in summer, sometimes preventer medicines are not taken daily as prescribed

What can you do? 

Asthma Australia has prepared a range of resources for both kids and their parents. Feel free to download whichever best suits your needs - 

Checklists for parents:
Checklist for parents of primary aged children (PDF 116.5KB)
Checklist for parents of secondary school aged children (PDF 101.8KB)

Tip sheets for kids:
Tips for primary school aged kids (PDF 84.1KB)
Tips for secondary school aged kids (PDF 102.9KB)

Use the checklist to develop a partnership with the key staff at your child’s school and share responsibility for their asthma care.

Asthma Australia also provides training to parents and carers who want to learn more about asthma and how to manage it.

Asthma Australia in schools

Asthma Australia trains over 40,000 school staff each year in Asthma First Aid and provides Asthma Emergency Kits to help schools be prepared to manage an asthma attack at any time.  Our trainers provided information sessions to 15,000 students in schools in 2015. This included how to help a friend if they have an asthma attack.  Last year we launched Asthma Kids with over 3,000 primary aged children visiting this webpage so far and doing the interactive Chester’s Asthma Trail.

From a mum - Danny’s story 

small boy being treated in hospital"After Danny’s first few days at primary school he came home with a cold.  While he slept one night I noticed he was having difficulty breathing and we called an ambulance.  He woke and wheezed, “Mummy, I can’t breathe.”  After the hospital, we went to our GP who said it was difficult to diagnose asthma after one episode and suggested we keep asthma reliever medication on hand. 

I grew anxious about leaving him at school or at someone else’s house.  He was always coughing, a cough that lasted for weeks. I called the Asthma Help Line and they were extremely supportive.  I decided to go to another GP who immediately put Danny on preventer medication.  His cough soon cleared up, as did my anxieties about leaving him.  I still talk with the Asthma Help Line and together we keep Danny’s asthma under control – our lives are now much happier and they have really helped my whole family."

To read more stories from parents, carers and people affected by asthma you can download the You Care We Care e-book (PDF 3.5MB), which contains asthma stories from across Australia.

Help us to help you and other families by telling us about your experiences with back to school asthma by taking our short survey – it only takes a couple of minutes.  We will report the results on the website in March


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This website is a collaboration between Asthma Australia and Asthma Foundations ACT, NSW, NT, QLD, VIC, WA, TAS and SA