As the school half-term approaches in Herefordshire (February 15 to 19), local GPs and senior hospital staff are giving important preventative advice for parents and carers of children with asthma.
Parents and carers are being urged to take some simple steps to help look after their child’s asthma and reduce the risk of an asthma attack whilst on holiday in the UK or abroad.
Dr Andy Watts, GP and clinical lead at Herefordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you’re going on holiday, get your prescriptions on time before you go, make sure your child has a written asthma action plan with their medicine details and what do if an asthma attack gets worse.
“Remember to ensure that you take your child’s inhalers wherever they go and that they take their asthma medicine regularly as prescribed.
“Children can sometimes feel unwell whilst they are on holiday, and accidents can occasionally happen, so familiarise yourself with where and how to access local healthcare services in the area where you are staying”.
Rachel McColm, Emergency Department consultant at Hereford County Hospital, said: “Asthma attacks often develop slowly, sometimes taking a couple of days or more to become serious, although some people with asthma are prone to sudden, unexpected severe attacks. It is important to recognise attacks early and take appropriate action.
“During an asthma attack, symptoms including your child’s wheezing and shortness of breath may get worse and even if you child is already on treatment, their inhaler medication may not work as well as it normally does. Breathing may get faster and sometimes children may complain of a tummy ache.
“Symptoms are often worse at night and early in the morning, particularly if the condition is not well controlled. They may also develop or become worse in response to a certain trigger, such as exercise or exposure to an allergen.
“If you think your child is having an asthma attack, sit your child up straight away, get your child to take a puff of their inhaler every 30-60 seconds up to a maximum of 10 puffs. If their symptoms have not improved, call 999 for an ambulance.
“Remember to take your child’s asthma plan with you to the hospital so that the emergency staff know what medication they are prescribed and they can be treated more quickly.
“It’s also important that if symptoms improve and you don't need to call 999, you still need to make an urgent same-day appointment with your GP or asthma nurse”.
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