1 in 10 children and young people in London have asthma but less than half of these have an asthma management plan or know how to use their inhaler correctly.
Healthy London Partnership and NHS England London are launching a campaign #AskAboutAsthma to help improve the lives of those living with asthma in the capital.
The campaign, which is launching to coincide with children and young people returning to school and the highest peak of hospital admissions for asthma, aims to encourage all children and young people with asthma to take these three simple steps:
ASK: Do I have an asthma management plan? This helps identify the right colour inhaler and dosage, and when to seek emergency help.
ASK: Can I use my inhaler properly?
ASK: Have I had my annual asthma review?
London has high levels of air pollution. Air pollution affects everyone who lives and works in London. The most vulnerable groups like children and those with respiratory conditions are most affected. Air pollution triggers asthma for many children and young people. We can all do more to clean up London’s air.
#AskAboutAsthma is also asking all NHS organisations, businesses and residents in London to take simple steps to improve air quality and make a My Asthma Pledge in support of the #AskAboutAsthma campaign. We want people to:
Vin Diwakar, Regional Medical Director, NHS England (London Region) says:
“Asthma is the most common childhood condition and can be managed very well through simple measures. However, in London every year 4,000 children and young people are admitted as an emergency to hospital as a result of an asthma attack. There are some excellent standards of asthma care provided for children and young people in London, but these standards need to be delivered more consistently across all care settings. It’s really important that children, young people and their families know how they can best care for themselves and their children if they have asthma.
“As a paediatrician and Medical Director for London I am proud to see us running the #AskAboutAsthmacampaign and the support it gets from many of our partners. We want to drive up awareness of the simple steps everyone can take so children and young people can live healthier, more active lives. As we look towards winter, remember if you or your child has asthma, the flu vaccine is another simple yet important step you can take to reduce the risk of asthma.”
Professor Kevin Gruffydd-Jones, respiratory lead for the Royal College of GPs, said:
“Asthma has a huge impact on the lives of many children and on hospital admissions, but the condition can sometimes take a backseat to other priorities within the NHS.
“‘Ask About Asthma’ is a very welcome campaign to raise awareness of the condition and improve the care of children with asthma.”
Professor Russell Viner, President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH), said:
“A child is admitted to hospital every 20 minutes in the UK because of an asthma attack but with high quality management, many of these admissions are preventable.
“Left unmanaged, asthma can be deadly so to help prevent a child becoming another statistic, parents must ensure their child has an asthma management plan, can use their inhaler properly and has their condition reviewed every year.
“Regular exercise can also help asthmatics so I’d encourage families, where possible, to swap the car for a bicycle, or scoot or walk to school – this will not only improve their health, but will reduce air pollution in the process.”
The #AskAboutAsthma campaign will run from the 3rd to 16th September.
Notes to Editor