The #AskAboutAsthma campaign

September 10, 2020

Asthma is the most common long-term medical condition affecting children and young people (CYP) with one in 10 affected by the condition in London – that means that 240,000 children and young people have asthma. Additionally, many have badly managed asthma – to the extent that 4,000 are admitted to hospital with asthma every year and 170 have such a severe episode that they require admission to intensive care.

Asthma can have a major impact on a child’s life; they may have to take time off school, which can affect their learning while time in hospital can be distressing. It may also reduce their ability to exercise. Asthma can also be deadly with approximately, 25 to 30 children and young people dying from asthma each year in the UK.

The #AskAboutAsthma campaign urges children and young people and their families, and those involved in their care, to ensure three simple and effective measures are in place to help them control their asthma:

  1. A written asthma action plan drawn up between a clinician and asthma sufferer means people are four times less likely to have to go to hospital for their asthma. Only 28-48% of CYP with asthma in London have an asthma plan
  2. Using inhalers effectively less than ¾ of CYP have any form of instruction in how to use their inhalers – meaning they may not be getting the full benefit of their asthma medication
  3. An annual asthma review (as a minimum) to ensure effective management of the condition

Did you know?

  • In 2018 London Ambulance Services (LAS) attended 2,737 children for asthma and 9,855 children for breathlessness.
  • Children die of asthma in London each year; 90% of these deaths are preventable – these children should have gone on to lead full and productive lives.
  • London has a higher rate of illness and death in children and young people because of asthma compared to other European countries
  • Asthma is one of the top three causes of emergency admission to hospital (4,000 in London each year)! 75% of these admissions would be avoidable through the implementation of simple interventions!
  • 170 children were admitted to intensive care in 2016/17, with an average length of stay of three days. The equates to a spend of over £1million on intensive care
  • Nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and other forms or air pollution are known triggers for asthma and poor health more widely, particularly in children
  • While Covid-19 is not thought to be a particular risk for CYP with asthma, it makes good asthma control and avoidance of unnecessary ED attendances more important than ever.

There is a range of resources, shown below, that can help you take control of your asthma.

All about asthma

What is asthma

Growing up with asthma – Sammy’s story

Advice for young people with asthma – Sammy’s story

Mya’s Poem

The difference between wheeze and asthma with Dr Mando Watson

If your child has asthma with Dr Mando Watson

If your child has a wheeze with Dr Mando Watson

Where parents can get advice with Dr Mando Watson

Using a spacer

How to look after your spacer

How to use a spacer with mouth piece over 5

How to use a spacer with face mask under 5

How to use a peak flow

Managing allergies: managing asthma

Video of what happens in anaphylaxis

Make sure you have an allergy plan

Allergies and school

Your asthma plan

Make sure you have an asthma plan

Why asthma plans are so important

What to do when your symptoms are getting worse


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