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Charity warns of asthma risk

Open Airways has reminded students with asthma to begin taking their preventer inhalers due to the increased risk of related symptoms in the first few weeks of returning to school.

The asthma charity warns that due to the long summer break there is an increased risk of asthma-related illness because of the high amount of mould that accumulates, among other factors.

According to the charity, many children with asthma are free from symptoms during the summer months as they have been in camps, swimming and enjoying plenty of outdoor activity and there are fewer viruses at that time of the year.

As a result, many children stop taking their preventer inhaler during the summer. Liz Boden, founder of Open Airways, said: “Once children go back to school at the beginning of the new school year there is a sharp rise in asthma, peaking during the second and third week of term.

“Emergency room visits for children with asthma peak at this time of the year all around the world and not just in Bermuda.

“Most schools have been closed up during the long summer holiday and although they are cleaned thoroughly, ready for the new term, there is still mould in books and files, etc.

“Also, children will be returning to the island from vacations all over the world, bringing with them viruses often picked up on planes.

“As soon as the children are in an enclosed space like a classroom, the viruses spread and the children with asthma start to cough and wheeze.

“Children who have been prescribed a ‘preventer’ inhaler such as Becotide (brown inhaler) or Flixotide (orange inhaler) and have not taken it during the summer should restart it one to two weeks before the term starts. Don’t wait until they have asthma symptoms start in the second or third week and then end up in the Emergency.

“Remember, the ‘preventer’ inhaler takes one to two weeks to be effective and it must be taken every day to keep asthma away.

“Let’s make sure all of our children with asthma have a good start to the new school year.”

•For more information call Open Airways 232-0264 or e-mail nurse@openairways.com