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a schoolchildren imageSeptember 6 2017

Advice about the risk of increased prevalence of certain health conditions associated with the return to school have been issued. 

 Asthma UK has warned that the start of the new school year can see hospital admissions “skyrocket”. Data shows children aged between 5-19 in the UK were 1.7 times more likely to be rushed to hospital following an asthma attack in September than in August, said the charity. It based its findings on data from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) data via NHS Digital (England), Information Services Division (ISD) Scotland and NHS Wales.

“Children are at a much greater risk of having a potentially fatal asthma attack when they’re back in school, where they are exposed to triggers such as cold and flu viruses. A lack of routine with anti-inflammatory preventer medicines over the school holiday can also increase their risk, as their airways will be more sensitive to asthma triggers.”

Sonia Munde, Head of Helpline and Nurse Manager at Asthma UK, added: “It’s extremely distressing for any parent to hear that their child has had an asthma attack at school, and exposure to triggers at school can also cause asthma attacks when children get back home.”

Asthma UK is advising that “parents should not feel afraid to book an urgent appointment with the GP or asthma nurse” if their child is:

  • using their reliever inhaler more than three times a week
  • coughing or wheezing at night
  • feeling out of breath and struggling to keep up with their friends.

Public Health Wales has issued an alert warning parents of the risk of children being exposed to people returning from Europe with measles, as summer holidays come to an end.

The warning has been prompted by an outbreak of measles in the Newport and Torfaen area, which had reached 17 confirmed cases by September 1. It is linked to a large outbreak on the continent, where over 14,000 people across Europe thought to have contracted measles in the outbreak, with 40 deaths reported.

Dr Rhianwen Stiff, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health Wales, said: “We have a real concern that, as people return to Wales after the summer holidays, they may bring back measles with them, and we may see further outbreaks of this highly contagious infection across Wales. The message to parents is simple – the only protection against measles is two doses of the MMR vaccine. While children are not fully vaccinated, they are at risk from a large outbreak that is only a short plane ride away.”

Parents who suspect their child has measles should contact their GP or NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for an assessment.

Links:
Asthma UK announcement       
Asthma UK ‘back to school’ advice             
Public Health Wales measles announcement       

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