A call was made today for the Mayor’s “toxic air day” warnings to include a reminder to schoolchildren to take their asthma medication.
A pioneering study of secondary school pupils with asthma in the capital found almost half were not treating themselves properly — putting themselves at risk of a more severe attack.
The UK already has a “disproportionately high” rate of child asthma deaths, and one in 11 children in the country suffers from the lung condition.
The professor overseeing the study believes they could help address the poor control of the condition and lack of knowledge among asthmatic children. Professor Jonathan Grigg, who also runs a severe asthma clinic at the Royal London hospital, said: “If you have asthma and it is not well-controlled, you are going to be more likely to suffer from these days of high pollution.
“If you have poor control, you run a risk of having a severe episode. The number of children who die is very small, but we are not really treating asthma as seriously as we should. In other countries, they say, ‘If you have got asthma, make sure you take your medication on the next few days’. That is what I would do. I would say, ‘There is an air pollution event. Make sure you take it.’ ”
The research, at Queen Mary University of London, asked nearly 700 pupils with doctor-diagnosed asthma at 24 secondary schools in the capital about their use of inhalers.