Campaign urges Suffolk parents to take asthma in children seriously to avoid hospital admissions

Chair of Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Tony Goldson (centre) and Director of Public Healt

Chair of Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, Cllr Tony Goldson (centre) and Director of Public Health Abdul Razaq (right) met with a practice nurse to discuss the importance of children's asthma plans. Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL - Credit: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

The emergency hospital admission rate for asthmatic children in Suffolk is higher than the national average, latest figures reveal.

Health leaders in the county have warned parents to take the condition seriously and make sure plans are in place to prevent needless trips to A&E.

In the financial years 2012/13 to 2016/17, 1,819 people aged 18 and under in Suffolk were taken to hospital for emergency asthma care, which is a rate of 22.7 per 10,000 children.

This was higher than the regional (16.7) and national (21.0) rate for the same period.

Suffolk County Council’s Public Health team and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) of GPs are launching a new campaign to encourage parents to make sure children have an asthma plan in place and have regular reviews with their doctor.

Schools should also have a copy of pupils’ asthma plans and have a spare inhaler available for them, campaign bosses say.

Posters highlighting this message will be sent to GP surgeries, children’s centres, schools, nurseries, libraries, leisure centres and pharmacies.

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Across the UK, around one in 11 children are asthmatic. There’s no cure for the condition but with the right treatment children can lead a normal and active life.

Abdul Razaq, Suffolk County Council’s director of Public Health and Protection, said: “Whilst asthma is a common childhood condition we want to raise awareness of the importance of managing it well. Managing a child’s asthma requires a partnership approach through support by a range of people including families and schools to ensure that this condition is taken seriously. It is vitally important that everyone is aware of what symptoms to look out for and the prompt action that needs to be taken to save lives.”

Dr Mark Shenton, a GP in Stowmarket and chairman of Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG, said signs that a child has poorly controlled asthma could include coughing at night and using their inhaler more than three times a week.

He added: “Never ignore worsening symptoms. If at any time you are concerned about your child’s asthma - make an appointment with your GP practice for an asthma review.”

Dr Shenton said having a flu vaccination was also important for asthmatics.

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