Potentially deadly asthma attacks among children will rise sharply as they return to school after the summer holidays, a charity has warned.
Asthma UK said that after the summer break, it expects asthma attacks among youngsters to double.
Its analysis of health data from across the UK found that there was a 174% increase in emergency asthma admissions among youngsters in the month after they went back to school in 2016.
Figures from 2016 show that in the month before school there were 884 emergency admissions for asthma, compared to 2,421 in the month after schools returned for the autumn term.
The charity has urged parents of children with the condition to be watchful of their children so they can spot symptoms before an attack.
Asthma UK said that the rise may be attributed to a lack of routine over the summer holidays which means parents might not always remember to give their child their preventer medicine.
It said the medication is vital as without it, children could potentially suffer an asthma attack triggered by cold and flu viruses – some of which they will be exposed to after returning to school.
Dr Andy Whittamore, clinical lead at Asthma UK, said: “Going back to school should be an exciting time for children, but many could end up in hospital fighting for life after an asthma attack.
“This is extremely distressing for a child and their parent. It could be avoided if parents know how to spot their child’s asthma is getting worse and know what to do if their child is having an asthma attack.
“Parents should not feel afraid to book an urgent appointment with the GP or asthma nurse if their child is using their reliever inhaler (usually blue) three or more times a week, coughing or wheezing at night or feeling out of breath and struggling to keep up with their friends.
“They can find information and support at www.asthma.org.uk/back-to-school.”