Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition affecting children and young people. There are about 2-3 pupils with asthma in every classroom. London sees 12 child deaths a year as a result of asthma and that sadly has included children and young people in Harrow. Across the UK asthma affects 5.4 million people. Harrow Council and Harrow CCG are supporting the #AskAboutAsthma campaign which is focused on children and young people but is relevant for adults too.
Watch the #AskAboutAsthma video
If you or your child has asthma:
- Have an asthma management plan. Search online: “Asthma UK action plans”.
- Ensure you or your child knows how to use their inhaler and spacer properly
- Go to the GP for an annual asthma review
- Get the flu vaccination every year.
- Sign up to pollution alerts and adjust activity levels accordingly. You can sign up to Air Text here.
For health information visit the NHS asthma page.
For asthma awareness campaign materials visit the Healthy London resource page.
Asthma Facts - Did you know?
- One-third of childhood asthma cases are linked to air pollution
- Around half of London’s air pollution is caused by road transport
- Both fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide are released by road vehicles. Fine particulate matter comes not only from exhaust fumes but also from tyres, road surfaces and brake pads. In fact, more than half of vehicle particulate matter comes from tyres, road surfaces and brakes.
- About 240,000 children and young people have asthma in London. That’s two or three in every classroom.
- London has one of the highest rates of children with asthma in Western Europe. 12 children die and 4,000 are admitted to hospital for asthma each year.
- Week 38 (two weeks after the start of the new school year) sees the highest numbers of admissions to A&E for asthma each year. The main culprit for the September spike is the return to school, with subsequent exposure to bugs and viral illnesses and a lapse in preventer inhaler use over the school holidays.
- With good asthma control children and young people with asthma can compete nationally at sport and there are many examples of famous sports personalities with asthma such as David Beckham who prove this.
- Preventer inhalers need to be taken as prescribed – usually every day. They prevent the silent build-up of inflammation in the background that can tip over into an asthma attack if triggered.
- Inhalers usually have to be used with spacers. These are important as otherwise most of the drug will crush into the back of your throat and get taken to the stomach which is no use when you’re targeting the lungs. Children and also many adult asthmatics need some sort of holding chamber/spacer for the drug so that it can be slowed down and taken in at a slower rate. This makes it more likely to turn the bend at the back of the throat and get into the lungs.
- Research has shown that less than 75% of children and young people with asthma have any form of instruction in how to use their inhalers.
- Flu can be a trigger for asthma which is why it is important that people with asthma get the flu vaccination every year.