A recent review revealed that a lot needs to be done to improve asthma control in Australian children (www.aihw.gov.au).
Asthma affects 1 in 5 children. The good news is that there has been a 25% drop in the number of kids with asthma since 2001.
Poor asthma control is common
The study found that many children have poorly controlled asthma. Poor control leads to more severe symptoms, more flareups, days off school and hospital admissions.
Most asthmatic children have not had an ‘Asthma Cycle of Care’, a full asthma assessment and treatment plan from their GP.
Half of Australian children with asthma do not have a written Asthma Action Plan which helps recognise and treat any deterioration. Action Plans improve asthma control.
Incorrect use of medication
Many children use their short-acting relievers too often, instead of taking a daily preventer such as an inhaled corticosteroid. Preventers should be taken on a regular once- or twice-daily basis, but are most often used intermittently.
Exposure to tobacco smoke makes asthma more severe and harder to control. The study found 1 in 12 children with asthma is exposed to smoke at home every day.
What you can do
There is currently no cure for asthma. However, good care can generally control it.
- Discuss your child’s medication with your GP. Is a regular preventer needed?
- Have regular asthma reviews.
- Ask your GP about a written Action Plan and an Asthma Cycle of Care.
- Check the inhaler technique regularly.
- Never smoke at home or in the car. Speak to your GP about quitting.
For more information about asthma, speak to your GP or visit www.nationalasthma.org.au.