Are you 'asthma ready' for Back to School?
Ask about asthma!
Every year there is a sharp rise in the number of asthma attacks for children when they return to school after the Christmas break. This results in a significant increase in Emergency Department visits, hospitalisations and days off school. Not only is this unsettling for children as they start a new year at school, but often it impacts on time off work for the parents/carers also.
Why do asthma flare-ups happen at this time?
Our asthma experts tell us that major factors include:
- When children’s asthma is well controlled in summer, sometimes preventer medicines are not taken daily as prescribed.
- Children mix with others and there is an inevitable spreading of viruses.
What do the parents/carers of children with asthma say?
From 350 respondents to Asthma Australia’s parent/carer online survey in November 2016:
- 74% said their child had two or more asthma flare-ups per year.
- 58% had talked to their child’s teacher at the start of each school year.
- 21% had not provided the school with a spare puffer and spacer.
- 22% had not provided the school with an Asthma Plan.
- 87% were confident their child’s teacher is able to deal with an asthma flare-up.
The 2018 Back to School campaign
Asthma Australia and TerryWhite Chemmart have partnered to emphasise the need for parents and carers to put their child’s asthma plan at the top of their back to school list.
The campaign focuses on encouraging parents and carers of children with asthma to:
- Review and update their child’s asthma plan with their GP
- Visit TerryWhite Chemmart to purchase their necessary reliever medication, spacer or spacer and mask.
- Talk to a TerryWhite Chemmart Pharmacist about their child’s asthma management in preparation for school.
- Provide the school with a copy of their child’s asthma plan and provide the school with a reliever and spacer/spacer with mask, to be kept at school in case of an asthma flare-up.
Click here for more information on our 2018 Back to School campaign.
As part of the campaign, a back to school checklist has been developed that encourages parents and carers to:
- Give the school a copy of their child’s Asthma Plan.
- Provide a spare asthma reliever (usually blue) and spacer to the school.
- Talk to the teacher about their child’s asthma management.
Download (PDF 3.6MB) the 2018 Back to School campaign checklist now.
What role do school staff play?
You can help families be prepared and to try to reduce these health impacts and their flow-on educational effects.
Encourage parents and carers to visit their local TerryWhite Chemmart
As our official partner for the 2018 Back to School campaign, TerryWhite Chemmart will be heavily promoting the back to school message in pharmacies nationally.
Throughout January, TerryWhite Chemmart will be ensuring parents and carers of children with asthma have:
- The required reliever medication, clearly labelled with their child’s details.
- A spacer and mask, also clearly labelled. TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacists will be giving out FREE spacer ‘label stickers’ with a choice of two fun designs as well as a fun bag tag/keyring in readiness for school.
- An Asthma Action Plan or Care Plan and encouraging parents and carers to see their GP if they don’t have these.
- Realise the importance of talking with their child’s teacher and school about asthma management for their child.
Visit the TerryWhite Chemmart store locator here
Watch our videos
Complete asthma online training
Asthma Australia’s Asthma First Aid for School Staff has been updated and is available online for free. Training takes about an hour and includes risk management strategies for schools and addresses applicable guidelines and legislation. A new section on Thunderstorm Asthma has been added to address the possibility of such an event occurring during school time.
A new RECERTIFICATION course provides a faster update option for staff who are wanting to refresh their asthma training more frequently – meeting the need for annual updates as now required by some schools, with a certificate generated as proof of completion.
For more information on Asthma Australia's Asthma First Aid for School Staff online training, click here
Talk with parents
- Asthma is different for everyone. When meeting with parents discuss their child’s asthma, including their symptoms and severity.
- You can use the Asthma Plan as a tool to talk about their asthma medication, how to use this (a demonstration could be helpful) and the extent to which they can self-manage.
- Inform them of your school's asthma policy and establish two-way communication channels around the student's asthma, including reporting of any flare-ups and use of medication at school.
For more information on asthma call 1800 ASTHMA Helpline (1800 278 462) or visit asthmaaustralia.org.au