Support our Nation today - please donate here

Asthma attacks on the rise in Wales as children return to school

07 Sep 2023 3 minute read
Picture by NIAID (CC BY 2.0).

As schools return this week, a leading health charity has warned that many children could be at risk of having a potentially life-threatening asthma attack.

According to new analysis by Asthma + Lung UK Cymru, preventer inhaler routines can get disrupted over the holidays, so children’s airways can be more sensitive to asthma triggers when they go back to school.

With an estimated 59,000 children with asthma in Wales, data has shown that over the past five years, hospital admissions for children aged 5 to 19 more than triples in September when children return to school, compared to August.

Joseph Carter, Head of Asthma + Lung UK Cymru said: “We already know that when children go back to school after the summer holidays, we often see a spike in the number of asthma attacks, which leads to more hospital admissions.

“This is for several reasons, such as being exposed to more colds and other viruses or dust mites in a school setting, or seasonal allergies such as mould.

“Some youngsters might also fall out of their usual preventer inhaler routines over the summer break, which can leave them much more vulnerable to an asthma attack when they return to school and are around more triggers for their asthma.”

Asthma + Lung UK Cymru is urging parents to be on their guard and look out for signs that their child’s asthma may be worsening, such as wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and breathlessness.


If you are a parent or carer of a child or teenager with asthma and are concerned about their return to school, you can help reduce their risk of an asthma attack by doing the following: 

As a priority, make sure they use their preventer inhaler daily, as prescribed, even when they feel well, as this helps to build up protection in their airways over time .

Check that your child’s reliever inhaler (usually blue) is in their bag before leaving for school every day. It should be kept somewhere they can get to easily at any time, like during PE or if they are on a school trip.

Ask your doctor’s surgery for an extra reliever inhaler and give it to your child’s school or college.

This should preferably be in its original packaging. Send in a spacer too, if your child uses one. It should always be easily accessible and not stored in a locked cupboard.

Arrange for your child to have an annual asthma review with their GP or asthma nurse. This will help pick up any early symptoms.

Have an asthma action plan – this tells the youngster and their school or college which medicines they take every day to prevent symptoms and cut their risk of an asthma attack and what to do if their symptoms are getting worse.

This should be shared with their school, college, any carers, and medical professionals. You can download one from Asthma + Lung UK’s website here.

Make sure your child knows how to use their inhalers properly. You can arrange an inhaler technique check through your GP or asthma nurse and some pharmacies also provide this service.

Asthma + Lung UK has a guide here.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.