Children who suffer from asthma are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital than their peers during the month of September, figures released today from the NHS Information Centre reveal.
Each month there is an average of 2,320 children under 16 admitted to hospital, based on data from May 2009 to April 2010. However, in September the figure seems to rise – in September 2008 there were 4,820 children admitted, and in September 2009 it was 3,670.
Experts believe these figures could be linked to poorer control of asthma during the summer holidays and the stress and exposure to infections caused when children return to school.
“These figures appear to highlight September as a hotspot for asthma admissions among our very young children, which may prompt possible investigation as to why this may be,” said Tim Straughan, chief executive of the NHS Information Centre.
The Asthma UK charity has said that although children were at extra risk at the start of the school year for a number of reasons, there is action that parents and teachers can take to prevent some of the problems.
“We know that children’s admissions for asthma peak in September, which coincides with the start of the new school year,” said Erica Evans, head nurse of Asthma UK
“There are a number of possible factors, including the spreading of colds and viruses, the potential stresses that a new school term can bring and children not taking their regular preventer medicine over the summer holidays.
“It’s essential that parents and school staff work together during the school year to make sure that asthma is well managed and to avoid unnecessary hospital admissions for the condition.”