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Asthma attacks soar on return

Coughs, colds and asthma all soar during the month of September in kids, experts warn.

The Asthma Society of Ireland is urging parents and teachers to be vigilant for asthma triggers - it's the most common chronic illness in Ireland, affecting one in five children.

Frances Guiney, an asthma nurse specialist with the society said: "The month of September is clearly a dangerous time for children with asthma, with significant spikes in hospital admissions.

"Furthermore, our own research shows that children miss ten days of school each year due to asthma."

"Back-to-school time can be an exciting and often stressful time for many children. A change of environment, coupled with exposure to colds and viruses, means that children are exposed to more asthma triggers," she said.

The society is hosting a series of free asthma management clinics at town centres nationwide, with dedicated visits to primary schools next month.

Parents and teachers will be urged to put an asthma management plan, and a school policy in place to better control the condition for children.

Meanwhile, Dr Fiona Ryan, a HSE consultant in public health medicine, said: "You certainly find an increase in coughs and colds when the kids go back to school because they spread it very easily amongst themselves."

TISSUES

"Simple things for parents to think of with regard to that, is making sure the kids have tissues, and making sure that their kids are good at handling tissues.

"Schools should be encouraging kids to wash their hands because if there is anything that's going to stop the spread of infection, it's hand washing," she said.

Coughs and colds and gastro-illnesses, causing diarrhoea and vomiting, can spread quite quickly through schools, and hygiene is important, she said.

She also urged parents, to check whether their children are fully up to date with all their vaccines, especially if they are starting school.

fdillon@herald.ie


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