Open Airways: Back To School With Asthma

August 19, 2020

“Well controlled asthma is the best defence against both the Covid-19 pandemic and the annual September spike in asthma attacks,” the Open Airways said.

A spokesperson said, “The current school year will be an unusual one for everyone, but for students with asthma it is more important than ever that they are well prepared for back to school.

“Well controlled asthma is the best defence against both the Covid-19 pandemic and the annual September spike in asthma attacks.

“During these challenging times parents may have extra concerns if their child has asthma. The good news is that children with asthma are no more likely to get Covid-19 than their peers and children who do get the coronavirus tend to have mild symptoms like the common cold.

“Each school will have different policies in place for social distancing and handwashing, prepare your child for different routines by explaining these new protocols.

But what if my child has asthma?

“Not many children have been found to have the coronavirus so it is still hard to predict how the coronavirus may affect a child with asthma. But asthma and Covid-19 both affect the lungs and so a child may develop more severe symptoms if they have asthma. That is why it is so important to ensure that your child’s asthma is well controlled.

“Every September as students return to school, we see an increase in asthma attacks and hospital visits due to asthma.

What causes the September asthma spike?

“When children gather again at school there is an increased chance of them catching viruses such as the common cold and this year the Covid-19 coronavirus which may trigger asthma symptoms.

“Many children’s routines are different during the summer meaning that they may not have used their preventer inhalers every day making their airways more sensitive to asthma triggers.

“Being inside a classroom can be a source of asthma triggers or allergens such as mould or dust-mites.

“This can all lead to an increase in number of students having an increase in their asthma symptoms.

How to reduce your child’s asthma attack risk

“The most important defence is well controlled asthma. Using the preventer inhaler [usually orange or brown] every day calms the sensitive airways and controls the inflammation in the asthmatic airways.

“It is not possible to avoid all the asthma triggers, but having well controlled asthma reduces the chances that exposure to triggers such as viruses, including the Covid-19 virus or allergens will cause an asthma attack.

What does well controlled asthma look like?

  • No coughing or wheezing.
  • No breathlessness
  • No waking at night
  • Not using relief/emergency inhaler more than 2 times a week.

“Every child with asthma should have an annual asthma review with their doctor. At this review ask your doctor for an ‘Asthma Action Plan’. This is a written guideline on how to manage your child’s asthma. This action plan will also explain what to do if your child’s asthma symptoms are getting worse. The doctor should review your child’s asthma medications and inhaler technique.

“Top tips for parents to prepare their child with asthma for school.

  • 1. At least 2 weeks before school resumes ensure your child is taking their asthma preventer inhalers [usually orange or brown] daily as prescribed.
  • 2. Have an annual asthma review with their doctor and update or develop a written ‘asthma action plan’.
  • 3. Make sure your child knows what to do if they experience an asthma attack at school, do they know where their relief/emergency inhaler [Ventolin or Airomir]] is kept? Do they know how to use their relief/emergency inhaler?
  • 4. Ensure they have a relief/emergency inhaler with spacer correctly labelled at school, check expiration dates.
  • 5. Make sure your child’s name is on the school asthma register.
  • 6. Speak to the school about your child’s asthma, do the teachers know what to do if your child has an asthma attack?
  • 7. Ask your school if the school staff have taken the Open Airways online ‘Supporting Children’s Health Asthma course’ available at
  • 8. Teach your child good hand washing techniques.
  • 9. Encourage your child to eat a healthy diet and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
  • 10. If your child is sick keep them home from school.
  • 11. Get the annual flu shot when available.

“If you have any questions or would like a free individual consult with an asthma nurse, contact Open Airways at 232 0264 or”

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