McCann, Donna, McWhirter, Jenny, Coleman, Helen, Devall, Isobel, Calvert, Marguerite, Weare, Katherine and Warner, John
The prevalence and management of asthma in primary-aged schoolchildren in the south of England
Health Education Research, 17, (2), .
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A postal questionnaire survey of headteachers in 149 Infant, Junior and Primary schools (response rate: 63.8%) indicated poor asthma record keeping and a need for regular staff training in asthma. Dealing with an emergency was a major concern of headteachers. In 25 of the schools surveyed, an International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood (ISAAC) questionnaire was distributed to parents of children in Years 3 and 4 (7–9 years). Headteacher-reported asthma prevalence was 11.9% in these schools, while ISAAC parental reports indicated a current or previous diagnosis of asthma in 24.3% children, with 17.8% receiving asthma treatment and 18.9% reporting wheeze in the previous 12 months. Of six wheezing children per Year 3/4 class, one was receiving no treatment for asthma, three had experienced four or more attacks of wheeze in the previous year with one wheezing child per two Year 3/4 classes experiencing more than 12 such attacks. Four in six children experienced exercise-related wheeze, while only one in five schools allowed asthma medication at Physical Education lessons. A whole school policy on asthma together with some regularly updated staff education and training by an asthma-trained nurse would address many of the issues raised in this study.
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