Posted by Amanda Crawford at 04/09/2019 16:18:00
With the summer holidays at an end, doctors in Ashford are reminding parents to be ready to cope with any back to school ailments and injuries, particularly asthma.
The beginning of a new school year, combined with the onset of autumn, traditionally sees a spike in the amount of children suffering asthma attacks. More children have asthma attacks in September than at any other time of the year.
Dr Navin Kumta, chair of NHS Ashford Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Make an appointment with your GP to make sure your child’s written asthma action plan is up to date. They will also make sure your child is getting the most from their medicine.
“It is also important your child knows where their inhaler is, and how and when to use it.
“If your child uses a preventer (brown) inhaler, make sure that you are giving this to them now, as the temperature drops and the nights become damper.”
Dr Kumta added: “If your child’s symptoms are getting worse, give two to four puffs of their reliever inhaler, through a spacer. Space the puffs out so there are 30-60 seconds between them. Their symptoms should ease.
“If they do not, make a same day appointment with your GP or ring NHS 111 if it is closed.”
Signs indicating an attack is likely for your child include puffing on their reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week, coughing and/or wheezing at night and in the early mornings, breathlessness or saying their tummy or chest hurts.
Common health issues
Make sure your children are healthy (and don’t miss any school days) by reading our Back to School NHS Toolkit www.ashfordccg.nhs.uk. Thousands of other families in east Kent have already downloaded it for its useful advice and guidance on things like head lice and conjunctivitis.
Coughs and colds are also common from this time of year onwards, but parents should remember that antibiotics aren’t usually the answer. Plenty of fluids and rest should be enough to help fight off germs and symptoms will usually ease within five to seven days.
Dr Kumta added: “Your GP, nurse or pharmacist will not generally give you a prescription for medicines for a range of common childhood illnesses. Instead, these ‘over the counter’ medicines are available to buy in a pharmacy or supermarket in your local community.
“The team of health professionals at your local pharmacy can offer help and clinical advice to manage minor health concerns and if your symptoms suggest it’s more serious, they’ll ensure you get the care you need.”
Pharmacists can provide expert, free, confidential advice on other common child health issues such as head lice, upset stomach, conjunctivitis and threadworms. You can simply turn up and ask for advice with no prior appointment.
Many treatments are available from as little as £1 from a pharmacy or supermarket. However, pregnant women must not buy medication for threadworms from a pharmacy. They should speak to their GP or call NHS 111.
To find your local pharmacy, use Health Help Now which is available on the web at www.healthhelpnow.nhs.uk or it can be downloaded from the Google Play and the App Store.
Visit the Asthma UK website, www.asthma.org.uk/back-to-school to get advice and help on how to avoid a back to school asthma attack for your child.
Notes to editors
Health Help Now has been developed with input from local GPs, hospital doctors, and other health professionals. It lists common symptoms and offers suggestions for treatment alongside advice. It has been used more than 422,000 times across Kent and Medway.