School is around the corner, don’t let emergency hospital visits be too for the 3,125 children with asthma in Offaly – Asthma Society on Call to Help
September spike in numbers (based on 2014):
- 196% increase in admissions compared to previous month, in age group 5-9 years
- 59% increase in admissions compared with monthly average, in age group 10-14 years
- 13% increase in average length of stay in hospital in September
For the 1 in 5 children with asthma in Ireland the prospect of heading back to school can be even more daunting than for most children. The return to the classroom can result in asthma exacerbations leading to frightening Emergency Department visits and even hospital stays. However, the good news is many of these visits are avoidable with a personalised asthma plan.
There are just over 180,500 school going children with asthma in Ireland. To combat the expected September spike in hospitalisations the Asthma Society of Ireland has made more free appointments available with asthma nurse specialists on its award winning asthma advice line. Our nurses will be on hand to offer tailored support and guidance to parents, guardians, teachers and school management on the many dangers posed to children by the return to the classroom. Freephone: 1800 44 54 64.
Hospital admissions for children with asthma aged between 5 – 14 years rose from 53 admissions in August to 127 in September (2014), an increase of 130%, according to the most recent figures available from the Hospital In-Patient Enquiry Scheme (HIPE). In the 5-9 years age group the increase was even more concerning, jumping by 196% (from 31 in August to 92 in September).The September figures also show an increase of 59% on the average monthly admissions for children aged 10-14. In the same year, the average length of hospital stays increased by 13%; from 1.9 days in August to 2.15 days in September.
Pheena Kenny, Health Promotion Manager with the ASI said: “Back-to-school time can be an exciting but often stressful, time for many children. A change of environment coupled with exposure to colds and viruses, means that children are exposed to more asthma triggers.”
“Asthma is a controllable condition, and many emergency situations can be avoided by having the right supports in place. Our Advice line is on hand to provide a range of supports. Two key supports that the Asthma Adviceline nurses can provide details on are the Asthma Action Plan and the Asthma Friendly School Award. To find out more free phone the Asthma Adviceline on 1800 44 54 64 Monday to Friday between 9a.m. and 5p.m.”
Asthma affects 1 in 5 children so every classroom will have at least one child with asthma. As with all chronic illnesses education is critical and families need support to help them manage asthma at home and at school.
Nicola a parent of two asthmatic children said “my two boys dread the return to school much more than most kids their age due to their asthma. Without fail it brought about a worsening of their asthma and on one occasion my eldest son had to be rushed to hospital from his school by ambulance; a terribly frightening experience for him and his classmates, who had to witness the incident.”
“However, thanks to the help of my asthma nurse I have been able to develop a personalised plan for both my sons to try and deal with the return to school period. Since, doing this neither of my sons have been hospitalized and I follow the Asthma Society’s back to school check list religiously and I would encourage all parents to familiarise themselves with it”
The Asthma Society of Ireland’s free patient Asthma Adviceline offers people with asthma the opportunity to ask an asthma nurse specialist questions about their asthma. Call the Asthma Adviceline 09:00-17:00 Monday to Friday on 1800 44 54 64.
For more information on the Asthma Friendly Schools Award go to https://www.asthma.ie/what-we-
To access the Back to School Checklist go to https://www.asthma.ie/document