Three steps for helping young people to manage their asthma and avoid ending up in hospital
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Health experts are encouraging simple steps to help children and young people manage their asthma and reduce the risk of ending up in hospital.
Throughout this month, Healthy London Partnership and the NHS are running the campaign #AskAboutAsthma to coincide with children returning to school in the time of Covid-19 and with the peak period of hospital admissions for asthma.
One in 10 children and young people in London have the condition, but less than half of those have an asthma management plan or know how to use their inhaler correctly.
Many of them have badly managed asthma, to the extent that 4,000 are admitted to hospital every year and 170 have such a severe episode they need to be taken into intensive care.
It is particularly important to keep children’s asthma under control this year because of the pandemic and a potential second wave of Covid-19.
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Asking for three simple interventions - having an asthma management plan; being able to use their inhaler effectively; and having an asthma review annually, at least - can help them control it.
East London Health and Care Partnership’s director of children’s nursing and clinic lead for children and young people Kath Evans said: “In September we see the greatest admission rates for asthma in children.
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“In light of Covid we want to encourage children, young people, and their families to take control in managing their asthma before they end up in hospital.
NHS London medical director Dr Vin Diwakar said: “During the lockdown period, admissions to hospital for childhood asthma have reduced, but we mustn’t be complacent since winter is approaching.
“Poorly controlled asthma is a frightening experience for any child or young person and their family.
“It has never been safer and easier to receive regular asthma reviews, as the NHS has ramped up its virtual capacity and shifted from face to face to video appointments.”
Asthma UK clinical lead and practising GP Dr Andy Whittamore added: “People who have a written asthma action plan are four times less likely to be admitted to hospital, which is important at a time when the NHS is under increased pressure.”