Don’t forget to pack your (asthma) essentials

With the summer holidays due to start this week, the NHS is reminding parents and carers to pack their children’s asthma medication before they leave.

The advice has come from NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as they look to improve asthma care among local patients.

Data shows that there is a sharp rise in the number of children and young people attending A&E and subsequently being admitted to hospital for asthma-related conditions in September. Healthcare professionals often find that the main cause for this is that children and young people do not regularly take their asthma medication over the long summer break.

To prevent this happening this year, the local NHS is asking parents and carers to pack their children’s asthma medication along with all their other travel essentials. This reminder is also being extended to adults who have asthma as they too need to take greater care, especially as warmer weather can cause health complications for people with respiratory problems.

Dr Gordon Sinclair, Clinical Chair at NHS Leeds CCG said: “As a practicing GP, I have first-hand experience of caring for children and young people with asthma. We know that after the summer holidays we see a dramatic increase in the number of children with asthma being taken to A&E and often being admitted to hospital for further treatment. Often the main cause of this is a lack of adherence to their asthma medication.

“I want to strongly urge parents and carers to pack their children’s asthma medication before they leave. Not only will this help them enjoy their summer break but it could also reduce the risk of their children developing health complications. This could be a particular issue for anyone going abroad as it is not always easy, or cheap, to access healthcare in some countries.”

Asthma UK has developed a ‘My Asthma’ resource pack for children aged 6-12 years old including a six week diary for children to complete with a reward sticker for every week completed. The resource pack can be downloaded from Asthma UK’s website https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/child/manage/action-plan/

Asthma UK provides simple, straightforward information for children and adults for more information visit: www.asthma.org.uk

 Key facts (source: Asthma UK)

  • 5.4 million people in the UK are currently receiving treatment for asthma: 1.1 million children (1 in 11) and 4.3 million adults (1 in 12).
  • Asthma prevalence is thought to have plateaued since the late 1990s, although the UK still has some of the highest rates in Europe and on average 3 people a day die from asthma.
  • There were 1,167 deaths from asthma in the UK in 2011 (18 of these were children aged 14 and under).
  • An estimated 75% of hospital admissions for asthma are avoidable and as many as 90% of the deaths from asthma are preventable.

Children, parents and asthma

  • One in 11 children has asthma and it is the most common long-term medical condition.
  • On average there are two children with asthma in every classroom in the UK.
  • The UK has among the highest prevalence rates of asthma symptoms in children worldwide.
  • There were 25,073 emergency hospital admissions for children in the UK in 2011-2012. That means on average there were 69 per day, or one every 21 minutes.

 Healthcare abroad

Whatever your reasons for going abroad, you may be entitled to medical care at reduced cost or sometimes free. Your entitlement will vary based on whether you’re going to an European Economic Area country (EEA) or elsewhere in the world.

For tips for travelling with asthma please visit: https://www.asthma.org.uk/advice/living-with-asthma/travel/

To get the latest advice on accessing healthcare abroad please visit: http://www.nhs.uk/nhsengland/healthcareabroad/pages/healthcareabroad.aspx