The NHS in Lancashire and South Cumbria is marking World Asthma Day this year by highlighting the help available to manage this common long-term health condition.
The global awareness day on Tuesday 2 May is an opportunity to educate children and young people about the symptoms and triggers of asthma and how to keep it under control from an early age.
Asthma affects the lungs, and common symptoms are coughing (particularly at night), wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. It can usually be managed with inhalers and other medication, however it is important that children and young people with the condition – as well as their parents or carers - understand what triggers their symptoms and how to avoid those triggers.
Common triggers are things like smoke, pollution, cold air, exercise, infections such as colds or flu, and allergies to things like dust, fur and pollen.
In the UK, around 5.4 million people – one in every 12 adults and one in every 11 children - are currently receiving treatment for asthma.
Claire Uttley, senior specialist asthma nurse practitioner for children and young people at Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, said: “Asthma can affect people of all ages and often starts in childhood. It can improve during adolescence but can also come back later in life.
“An inhaler is a common sight in schools. Children and young people carry an inhaler to relieve symptoms or prevent an asthma attack, but there are things you can do for your child to make their asthma easier for them to manage. Ensure your child takes their preventer inhaler every day even when they are well, and symptoms are well controlled.
“They should also have an up-to-date Personalised Asthma Action Plan (PAAP) which can be requested as part of their asthma review from a GP practice.
“Some schools also have their own emergency inhaler, so make sure that you have given consent for your child to use this if required, and that school has a copy of your child's PAAP.
"Your child can also download the digital health passport which is an app that helps children and young people manage the condition more effectively and make sure your child has had all their vaccinations, particularly their flu jab in time for winter.”
The Digital Health Passport is an app for children and young people with long-term health conditions including asthma. It is free to download and can be used to monitor symptoms, record triggers and set medication reminders. You can also upload a copy of your PAAP so that it is easy to access, update and share with relevant people who may look after you.
To find out more about asthma and how to get a PAAP or Digital Health Passport, visit the Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board website.