PARENTS are being warned of an asthma attack time bomb potentially facing 72,000 children with the condition in Scotland when they go back to school after the summer holidays.

Last year more than three times as many ­children were hospitalised due to their asthma during the first week of September compared with mid-July, when admission rates were lowest, according to new data.

Asthma UK Scotland says that means more Scots children are rushed to hospital with a potentially fatal asthma attack in early September when they are back at school than any other week during the year.

The charity also says it has been notified of three children who died from an asthma attack in September last year.

It further warns that the spike in children's asthma hospital admissions occurs year after year in the UK and in many other countries, usually two to three weeks into the autumn term. Children aged six to seven years old are the most seriously affected, it says.

Asthma UK Scotland estimates three-quarters of such hospital admissions could be avoided with the right care and management and has launched a campaign to inform parents.

The charity believes parents can help prevent the attacks by making sure children take their preventer inhalers twice a day during the summer holidays.

The new figures show that 63 children were hospitalised in the first week of September, last year, compared to 19 in mid-July.

Studies suggest children who have been forgetting to take their medicines over the break will be at a higher risk of having a serious asthma attack when they are exposed to common classroom triggers at the start of term, such as colds, flu and stress.

Gordon Brown, national ­director of Asthma UK Scotland, said: "Normal routines can go out of the window during the summer break, which can effectively create a time bomb for children with asthma.

"Those who forget to take their preventer inhalers over the summer will be less in control of their symptoms and therefore more vulnerable to asthma attacks come term-time."

On average, two children in every classroom in Scotland have asthma, making it the most common long-term condition for children.

More than 1800 children in ­Scotland were rushed to hospital with a serious asthma attack in 2011-12. Children who have ­allergies on top of their asthma are thought to be particularly at risk.

The charity is urging parents whose children have asthma to order a free My Asthma pack, a child-friendly resource. It helps under-12s develop a routine to manage their condition over the summer, and as a result, reduce their risk of an attack in the autumn.

It says it also helps ­children understand and engage in their asthma, using colourful calendars, stickers and postcards.

In an in-depth evaluation of the My Asthma pack, 95% of children said that using the resource had helped them to learn about what medicines to take.

Meanwhile, 68% of parents said that their child's attitude towards taking their medicines has improved since using My Asthma.

Teenagers can play a fun online game to make them more aware of taking their inhalers during the holidays.

A Glasgow University study last year found that the rate of hospitalisations for children with asthma had dropped by more than 18% year-on-year since Scotland became the first country in the UK to introduce a smoking ban in 2006.

Before the smoking ban came into force, admissions for asthma were increasing at an average rate of 5.2% a year.

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