As Croydon’s young people prepare to go back to school, local doctors and nurses are encouraging parents, carers and children themselves to #AskAboutAsthma to ensure our young people are using their inhalers correctly.
Launched by Healthy London Partnership and the NHS in London, supported by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, the #AskAboutAsthma campaign encourages these small steps to help improve the quality of life for London’s children and young people living with asthma, including:
- Have an asthma management plan (which will soon be available as an app on mobile devices). The plan helps identify the right colour inhaler and dosage and the time to seek emergency help.
- Be able to use their inhaler effectively.
- Ensure they have an annual asthma review.
The campaign coincides with week 38 of the year, which sees the highest hospital admission rates for asthma among young people in Croydon.
Jo Massey, Children's Asthma Nurse Specialist at Croydon Health Services NHS Trust says:
“The “September Spike” for asthma hospital admissions in week 38 of the year, has been a recognised global phenomenon for over a decade where we see a sharp peak in asthma-related hospital admissions.
“The reasons for this vary, but the main culprits are the changes in weather, and the return to school or college, with subsequent exposure to bugs and viral illnesses, particularly in small children.
“Another very common reason for this spike is a lapse in preventer inhaler use over the summer school holidays. Going to bed later and sleeping in later means a change in routine, and established asthma habits may slip.
“Our Children’s Hospital At Home Team (CHAH) Children’s Asthma Service (@CHAHAsthma) offers a single intervention service for children and young people with asthma, offering support and education for children and young people across the borough to help manage their condition but we’re keen to share the simple steps that anyone can take to reduce the likelihood of a hospital visit.”
Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition affecting children and young people.
1 in 10 children and young people are affected by the condition, meaning 240,000 have asthma in London. Many have poorly controlled asthma – to the extent that 4,000 are admitted to hospital with asthma every year and 170 have such a severe episode that they require admission to intensive care.
Croydon has been named the worst borough in London for asthma, according to an Asthma UK report published in 2018.
Research by the charity Asthma UK said residents of Croydon were more likely than those anywhere else in the capital to require emergency admission to hospital during an attack, with 720 A&E admissions due to asthma in 2016/17, roughly 188 for every 100,000 residents.
The #AskAboutAsthma campaign will run from 16th to 22nd September.
Healthy London Partnership has developed a London Asthma Toolkit to support healthcare organisations and professionals to implement the The London asthma standards for children and young people.
The NHS has produced a toolkit NHS Trusts: Air pollution reduction toolkit. This describes simple and free changes NHS organisations can make to reduce their contribution to London’s air pollution.