New resources build asthma confidence in teachers

A UNSW-Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network team has produced an interactive e-book that is already improving asthma awareness in Australian schools.

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An interactive e-book is now available to teachers to improve care for the one in 10 Australian children who have asthma.

Head of UNSW’s School of Women's and Children's Health Professor Adam Jaffe produced the book with his Sydney Children’s Hospital colleagues Melinda Gray and Christine Burns, including videos and quizzes to boost teachers’ awareness and confidence.

The Asthma First Aid Management in Schools e-Book and the Schools and Child Services Action Plan for Asthma Flare-Ups follow a NSW Ombudsman report in 2014, which found that 20 children died from asthma between 2004 and 2013.

Professor Jaffe says research has found that by using the e-book, school staff increase their knowledge of asthma management, its triggers and first aid responses.

The research will be presented at the European Respiratory Society conference in Milan, Italy.

“Although we’re making great strides in managing children with asthma, asthma does kill children,” he said.

“Two to four children every year die in NSW with asthma, and we really hope these resources will make dying from asthma confined to the pages of medical history.”

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NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard with Noah, 9, a local primary school student who has asthma.

 

NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, who attended the launch at the Bright Building, said he knew first-hand how terrifying an asthma attack feels.

When the condition did strike, it was important that adults could confidently assist children in their care, Mr Hazzard said.

“It is critical that the people who spend the most daylight hours with them, that is teachers, understand how to respond and how to be proactive,” he said.

The e-book is available for free via Apple iTunes in 51 countries.