#AskAboutAsthma 2023 – a blog by Dr Easwari Kothandaraman

To mark #AskAboutAsthma Week 2023, which runs from September 11-17, our children and young people asthma clinical lead, Dr Easwari Kothandaraman, writes about the importance of parents taking simple steps to make a big difference with their children’s asthma.

The #AskAboutAsthma campaign is led by NHS England – London’s Babies, Children and Young People’s programme, but its messages are just as pertinent to Greater Manchester.

As many of you will know, asthma is a priority in our region with thousands of children every year being admitted to A&E with the condition.

Almost 6,500 Greater Manchester children attended A&E from January 2022 to January 2023 and almost 1,500 were admitted for treatment. This is much higher than the national or regional average.

There is much we can do to support the young people whose lives are being affected by this condition on a regular basis, starting with the four simple steps set out in the #AskAboutAsthma campaign.


Step 1

Get an asthma plan in place

Recent data shows that some areas of Greater Manchester have much lower levels of issuing personal action plans. As few as 22% of children who attended A&E in one area were found to have one. If a child has a personalised asthma action plan, they are four times less likely to have an asthma attack that requires emergency hospital treatment.


Step 2

Understand how to use inhalers correctly

It is important to encourage children and young people to use a spacer device and healthcare professionals need to ensure the correct type is chosen

Less than three-quarters of children and young people have any form of instruction on how to use their inhaler and poor inhaler technique means patients don’t get the full benefit of their asthma medication.

In some areas in GM only 19% of CYP admitted with asthma exacerbation are getting their inhaler technique checked compared to 63% nationally . GM average of 55% is also less than National Average.


Step 3

Schedule an asthma review every year and after every attack

From NRAP data, it is clear that in some areas of GM only 22% of children admitted with asthma exacerbations are getting a personalised asthma action plan, which is significantly less than national average.

We need to try and improve this, as a child with a personalised asthma action plan is four times less likely to have an asthma attack that requires emergency hospital treatment.


Step 4

Consider air pollution and its impact on lung health – every asthma conversation should include indoor and outdoor air pollution

As you will be aware, there are lots of outdoor factors which can make asthma worse and we can all do little things to help improve the quality, including reducing the number of motor vehicles.

Some people are less aware of poor air quality at home and we can discuss this with parents.

For example, could they avoid air-drying clothes or opening windows when having a bath or a shower, or when cooking?


For more information, view this presentation by Dr Kothandaraman.