Be ready for the school term hayfever & asthma surge

School holidays are at an end and although parents are partly relieved they’re also feeling nervous. This isn’t just because of separation anxiety, but because they know the reality of having children with health concerns like asthma and hayfever.

It is known that children with hayfever are at risk during this time because of the dry and dusty weather conditions in January and February.

The National Asthma Council of Australia suggest that one in ten school children with asthma have an increased risk of asthma flare-ups, attacks and hospitalisation during the first few weeks of school.

Dr Bastian Seidel, Director of The National Asthma Council Australia, wants parents to be prepared.

“We know that hayfever is another contributor to asthma exacerbations and using effective preventer medication spray can reduce those exacerbations effectively.”

 “When children return to classrooms, factors such as stress, a change of environment or allergens and less strict asthma management over the holidays can trigger asthma. A new set of classmates can also bring a new batch of cold and flu bugs, which are often the culprits behind asthma flare-ups.” Said Dr. Seidel.

So what can parents do to prevent their own child from experiencing an attack?

It seems simple, but parents need to be organised and put plans in place. Natalie Bourne, the mother of a five-year-old asthmatic says she has laid out precautions for her son.

“We’ve visited his doctor to make sure we have an up-to-date written asthma action plan with some extra copies for the school and his grandma,” Natalie said. “But it’s just as important to make sure he understands what to do if his asthma flares up – and so does his teacher.”

The National Asthma Council of Australia suggests that parents have a checklist and get back into routine early. Your doctor or paediatrician can help you come up with a plan. Rest assured that school or daycare is a safe place for your child with asthma or hayfever.

Each state department of education has strict health and safety policies in place to ensure the safety of your child whilst in their care. Here are some that may be of interest:

VIC:

http://www.education.vic.gov.au/school/parents/health/Pages/medicalconditions.aspx

QLD:

http://education.qld.gov.au/health/safety/

NSW:

http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/studentsupport/studenthealth/conditions/index.php

WA:

http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/policies/student-health-care.en?bbp.9.policyID=16594379&bbp.s=10&bbp.e=select&bbp.10.pane=0&bbp.v=7&bbp.i=d0.l.1.1.1.1.1.3.1.1.1.1.1&g11n.enc=UTF-8

SA:

https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/education-skills-and-learning/health-wellbeing-and-special-needs/health-conditions/health-issues-and-health-plans

TAS:

https://www.education.tas.gov.au/documentcentre/Documents/Specific-Health-Issues-Procedures.pdf

NT:

http://www.education.nt.gov.au/teachers-educators/students-learning/safe-schools-nt/element-3-policies-and-procedures#policies

(Photo credit: Flickr, by John Morgan)