Pharmacy and clinical tips to help support children’s health
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Pharmacy and clinical tips to help support children’s health

Every year, as the weather turns cooler and the kids are back to school, children’s health resurfaces as a hot topic of conversation. Let’s take a look at how pharmacists and primary carers can help support common ‘back to school’ health concerns such as asthma, injuries and bacterial infections.

Common health problems in school-age children:

Common health problems for school-age children (over 5) include:

Other common conditions include conjunctivitis, headlice and constipation.

Asthma remains a high health concern, and according to the Australian Journal of Pharmacy (AJP), one in ten Australian children have the condition. A rise in asthma flare-ups is common in the first weeks back at school, mainly due to factors such as stress, shared viruses, a change of environment or allergens and less strict asthma management over the holidays.

The AJP also revealed studies in Australia and the UK show a surge in asthma hospitalisations during the first month of the school year, with cases in Australia tripling in children aged five to 14 years and doubling in pre-schoolers. This means it’s important for parents and carers to put their child’s asthma plan at the top of their ‘Back to School’ list.

Clinical tips for asthma management

The National Asthma Council Australia has issued the following clinical tips, which aim to support best practice asthma care, and help parents of children with asthma prepare for the new school year:

  • When children with asthma present for any reason, ask about their asthma and whether they are ready for asthma when at school.
  • Make sure each child has an up-to-date written asthma action plan and the child and/or parents understand how to follow it.
  • Remind parents to get their child back into their asthma routine before the school year/term starts, including taking preventive medications every day, if prescribed;
  • Recommend a full asthma check-up with a doctor before the school year starts, or at least before activities like sports or other physical activities start, to ensure all is as well as it can be.
  • Take the opportunity to check that the child and/or parents are using inhalers correctly.

Asthma action plan templates and demonstration videos on inhaler techniques can be accessed at www.nationalasthma.org.au.

For more information about asthma symptoms, treatment and management, click here.

Digital health records and children’s health

Early Childhood Australia has recently partnered with the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA) to provide information for the early childhood education and care sector about the My Health Record Expansion Program, how to use it and the steps to opt out.

There are a number of flow-on benefits of a My Health record for families, service providers and the community. For instance, being able to store and quickly locate accurate health information can help families and individuals manage their own health.

Improved coordination and information exchanges, plus better-coordinated care, especially during emergencies or transitions, are also among the benefits for individuals and communities of a national digital health record system. For children, Early Childhood Australia also cites better targeted prescription and treatment options, reduced hospital admissions and reduced duplication of medical tests as expected gains.

Additional benefits include:

  • Families will be able to add their own details and will have access to accurate information for managing their own and their children’s health. This will include information on diagnosis, treatment, vaccination, allergies and other health information.
  • Families will be able to use My Health Record as the basis for discussions to advise and update educators and carers about their child’s health.
  • Doctors, pharmacists and authorised healthcare providers will be able to access My Health Record to assist in treatment, in prescribing and dispensing medicines and planning the best health interventions.
  • In medical emergencies health care providers connected to the My Health Record System can see a patient’s health information—for instance on allergies, medicines and immunisations—and can respond more effectively.

Learn more about My Health Record here.

For information on security and My Health Record click here.

Find out essential information on how to control privacy settings here.

A faster way to get treatment answers for children’s health

Pharmacists and health professionals faced with common enquiries from parents about children’s health issues can find answers faster via AusDI, Australia’s most comprehensive and up-to-date database.

AusDI contains over 80,000 pages of medicines information, covering over 5,000 products, including:

  • Independent drug monographs
  • Product information (PI)
  • Consumer medicines information (CMI)
  • Product summaries
  • Product identifier
  • Interactions and safety module

You can find products easily via browse or advanced search technologies using brand name, ingredient, indication or therapeutic class.

AusDI is updated daily by an Australian editorial team, under the guidance of an independent Editorial Advisory Committee. It is published monthly, including the latest data from the PBS Schedule. Being web-based, AusDI is always kept current for you and requires no software installation.

To find out how AusDI can help, visit: www.ausdi.com.au