Did you know that the third and fourth weeks of Term One are when New Zealand experiences the highest rate of hospitalisations for childhood asthma – greater than even the winter months?
International studies have found several possible reasons for this, including exposure to new viruses and allergens in the school environment, as well as changes in emotions like stress and anxiety which can be triggers for asthma.
Respiratory Paediatrician Dr David McNamara, who is also a member of the Foundation's Scientific Advisory Board, says there are important things that parents can do to help their child with the return to school. Here are his tips:
- Check you have the inhalers and spacers your child will need for the start of school
- Make sure your child's Asthma Action Plan is up-to-date, and if you haven't got a plan, download one and ask your doctor to complete it.
- Share your child's Asthma Action Plan with their teacher (the plan can be completed digitally and shared with teachers and other caregivers).
- Get your child into the habit of regularly using their preventer inhaler.
- Make sure your child takes their reliever inhaler with them to school.
- Ask if staff at the school know what to do in an asthma emergency, if they don't you can share our poster.
- Ask if your school has an Asthma Emergency Kit, these can be purchased here.
- Learn more about asthma using our Parent Toolkit
- You can also download our Back-to-School checklist for families.