- 20 Jan 2017
A new school year is fast approaching, an exciting time after a long and eventful summer. In addition to the increase in sales for new shoes and stationery, sadly, back to school time also sees a dramatic rise in the number in asthma related hospitalisations.
Asthma is a chronic condition affecting around 2.3 million Australians1, with a significantly higher prevalence in inner city regions1. Asthma has varying degrees of impact on the sufferer’s physical, psychological and social well-being. At worst asthma can be deadly and at best asthma, if controlled, has a small impact on quality of life.
The rise in asthma attacks following the back to school period is a well-documented phenomenon, it happens every year, and there are a number of reasons for the increase such as kids passing around and sharing the common cold, an increase in the pollen count and a switch up of routine all being contributing factors.
Allergies and asthma are closely linked with 80% of asthma suffers also suffering from allergies2. This close connection means it can be more difficult to manage your asthma if your allergies are not managed well. ENJO Australia and Asthma Australia have joined forces to help raise awareness of this connection, and provide funding for essential research.
As with most things, education and preparation are the key to reducing the risk. So in the spirit of education, we’re put together some simple things you can do at school and steps you can take in your home to improve your asthma symptoms, quality of life and breathe easier during the back to school period.
BOOK AN ASTHMA CHECK UP
Asthma is an invisible disease, but it’s serious and highly variable. It can change over time owing to lifestyle and seasonal variations, which means it’s important to have regular check-ups and not only visit your doctor following an attack.
Before the start of the school year is a perfect time to book your appointment. Making sure you have the right care will help prevent hospitalisation, plus regular check-ups will help your doctor monitor your asthma, which will serve as a valuable tool for identifying triggers and minimising the effect asthma will have on your quality of life.
ASTHMA ACTION PLAN
It has been shown that people with asthma are over four times more likely to end up in hospital owing to their asthma if they don’t have an asthma action plan3, but only 41% of children (under 15) actually have an asthma action plan1. Asthma Australia have an Asthma Action Plan available on their website, which you can complete with your doctor to reduce and prevent flare ups. It’s a good idea to provide a signed copy to your school at the start of the year.
TALK TO YOUR SCHOOL
Making sure your new teacher is briefed about your child’s asthma symptoms, history, triggers and medication is really important. Although your school might be highly education on the disease, asthma is different for everyone, so make sure the class teacher is aware of your child’s normal triggers and the medication they require. Don’t forget to keep your school up to date with changes to your child’s asthma management.
LABEL AND MAKE SURE MEDICATION IS STORED CORRECTLY
Before the start of term, check with your school about their medication policy, ensure all medication and devices are clearly labelled with your child’s name, and that medication is in date and stored appropriately in a place both your child and the teacher can access.
MATTRESS AND PILLOW PROTECTOR
Dust mites are thought to be one of the most common causes of allergies worldwide. Try a mattress and pillow protector to reduce skin contact with dust mites. Designed to sit on top of your mattress and cover your pillows, protectors are generally made from cotton and other materials that are designed to repel liquid and prevent dust, dust mites and other associated allergens.
Be sure to wash bedding with hot water to kill dust mites.
KEEP PETS OUTSIDE
Your pets and their dander (combination of dead skin cells and hair) is a common cause of allergies and therefore asthma-related symptoms. Minimising the amount of time your pets stay indoors will help reduce the amount of hair, dirt and dust brought into your home. Place a restriction on pets in the bedroom, on the couch and on carpeted surfaces.
Frequently washing your pets has also been shown to reduce the allergens found in their dander4.
Keeping your home as dust free as possible is a challenge, 70% of the dust in our homes is made up of dead human skin cells5, and with our skin continually renewing itself, we shed almost a million skin cells in a single day6.
Unfortunately there is no short cut, the answer is to dust and vacuum regularly and keep on top of the build-up. Investing in effective and durable dusting products is worth its weight in gold – ENJO Dust Fibres have a unique weave that works to lift and attract dust and then trap it within the ultra-fine fibres, allowing you to physically remove the dust from your home.
MAKES DUSTING EASY!
"This is really great. I was a bit sceptical, worried that it would just move the dust around, but the glove really captures it - which is great for my allergies!"
Review by Simone
Another common household asthma trigger, mould, commonly found in bathrooms and fridges, release spores that when breathed into the lungs can trigger asthma symptoms.
Start by removing any visible mould from your bathroom. Using ENJO means you can avoid harsh chemicals that can also exacerbate asthma symptoms further. ENJO will remove the mould and with the wet, wipe, dry action, which you’ll be removing that moisture that mould thrive in, preventing growth.
Make sure bathrooms are appropriately ventilated and fitted with a fan.