The Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Ageing, Senator Jan McLucas, has urged parents and teachers of children with asthma to ensure they have an up-to-date Asthma Action Plan as students begin a new school year.
The Australian Government has allocated $5.4 million to the Asthma Management Program (AMP) in 2008-09 to produce best practice treatment, encourage proactive management and reduce the personal, social and economic impact of asthma.
An important component of the AMP is the Asthma Friendly Schools Program. This program, which will receive around $1.4 million in Australian Government funding in 2008-09, provides training for teachers and asthma management guidelines for schools.
Senator McLucas said that an Asthma Action Plan could prevent serious attacks by helping people with asthma recognise worsening asthma symptoms and giving them clear instructions on what to do in response.
“In February each year, we see a dramatic increase in the number of school-age students being hospitalised and attending Accident and Emergency departments due to asthma-related illnesses,” Senator McLucas said.
Senator McLucas said the risks of asthma attacks among children increased at the start of the school year and it was important to prepare as a family. “The spike in asthma-related hospitalisations among school-age students at the start of each school year is a stark reminder that asthma is a serious health condition which can, at times, be fatal.”
“Children with asthma can lead full and healthy lives with the help of their GP, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Developing a written Asthma Action Plan with your GP is an integral part of asthma management. It is a must for every child with asthma to have a current plan.”