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1 All about asthma

2 Did you know? More than 5 million people have asthma in the UK, including 1.1 million children and young people. With the right medicine, support and advice, people with asthma can live a full and active life.

3 What is asthma? Asthma is a condition that makes it hard to breathe It affects the tiny airways that carry air in and out of the body The airways become red and swollen.

4 What’s a trigger? When someone with asthma comes into contact with an asthma trigger, the airways become narrower and often produce a sticky mucus. This makes it hard to breathe.

5 Triggers Common triggers include: Allergies to furry or feathery pets, pollen, cigarette smoke and house-dust mites Colds or flu. Everyone’s asthma is different and people may have several triggers. Others like scented deodorant, and latex gloves can be a problem in school.

6 What can trigger an asthma attack?

7 How Can We Help in school ? Be aware of the triggers of the children in our class. Help our friends to avoid their triggers, e.g., Toilets for aerosol use and toilets where we do not use aerosols. Learn about asthma so that we can recognise when our friends are feeling unwell and get help.

8 Why do people get asthma? Scientists are researching the exact reasons for asthma. We know that you can’t catch it from other people. People are more likely to have asthma if other family members have it too, or if they have an allergy like eczema or hayfever.

9 How can you tell someone has asthma? They cough, particularly at night or after exercise They have tight feelings in the chest They are often short of breath – even when they are resting They may wheeze when breathing If you are having difficulty with your breathing, you should go to see your doctor who will be able to tell you whether you have asthma.

10 Everybody’s asthma is different Some people have very mild asthma and hardly ever get any symptoms. Others may have more severe asthma, which means they have to take time off school or even go to hospital.

11 What treatments are there for asthma? A reliever inhaler is usually blue. It helps to quickly relax the muscles around the airways. People with asthma should use this when they have asthma symptoms (such as coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath). A preventer inhaler is usually brown, red or orange. It works over a longer period of time to soothe and calm swelling in the airways.People with asthma should use this regularly, even when feeling well.

12 What should someone do if they have asthma? The doctor or asthma nurse will tell them about the different medicines to help them breathe more easily They should bring their medicines to school and carry them with them or keep them close at hand. They should bring a management plan to school signed by a doctor so that school know how to help with their asthma.

13 Take control of asthma Someone with asthma should remember these four steps: Get and take the right treatment Know what their triggers are – and avoid them where possible Recognise when they feel their asthma is getting out of control and seek help Know what to do if they have an asthma attack

14 Take control of asthma. Health Professionals in Yorkshire and Humber recommend that school staff carry a card with them at all times whilst in school. You may see a teacher with one of these. More are available from _your_free_asth.html

15 Someone having an asthma attack should: Take two puffs of their reliever inhaler (usually blue). Sit up, loosen tight clothing and try to keep calm. If they don’t start to get better straight away, they should continue to take two puffs of their reliever inhaler every two minutes for ten minutes or until their symptoms start to get better. If symptoms do not improve in five minutes – or if you are worried – call 999 or a doctor urgently. Repeat if ambulance does not arrive within 15 mins. Continuing to take two puffs of reliever inhaler every 2 minutes. up to 10 puffs. © Asthma UK 2009 Registered charity in England 802364 and in Scotland SCO39322 HP142L0609 With thanks to ICAP for funding this resource

16 Regional professionals would like to remind young people with asthma that although they feel well in the summer, failing to take their medication can result in a higher risk of them becoming unwell in September. There will be a reminder in the school newsletter. Dear Parent Asthma is a common condition in childhood; most children who have asthma can control their symptoms with regular medication, and participate fully in day-to-day activities. Some children with asthma can occasionally experience increased symptoms that mean they have to go to hospital for treatment. Our records show that in September, many more children go to hospital with increased asthma symptoms than at any other time of year. This increase in asthma symptoms may be due to the fact that some children experience fewer symptoms during the summer holidays, and sometimes forget to take their asthma medication regularly. Ensuring your child takes their “preventer” asthma medication regularly during the summer holidays and throughout the year will help your child to control their asthma condition in the best possible way, and will also help us to reduce hospital admissions linked to asthma. If you have any questions about this letter please discuss it with your local doctor or paediatrician. Yours sincerely Yorkshire and Humber Regional Asthma Impact Project Steering Group Members Tackling absence in September.

17 To find out more about asthma, visit For more information

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