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Asthma awareness scheme

25 January 2017

Medical Students with Children from school

Students from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine are teaching children in Cardiff how to recognise the signs and symptoms of an asthma attack and how to deal with one effectively.

Caitlin Peers who leads the scheme for Cardiff University’s School of Medicine said: “Childhood asthma affects three children in every classroom and can result in hospital admissions, significant absence from school and even mortality, despite widely available treatments..."

"Through our new scheme we are raising awareness and educating children about the condition in the hope of preventing fatal asthma attacks.”

Caitlin Peers School of Medicine

Modelled on a University College London scheme which showed a 46% rise in the number of children who understood what asthma was and what to do during an asthma attack, the initial awareness drive has educated over 220 children, aged between four and nine, in seven schools across Cardiff. The drive consisted of a 30 minute session containing a simple anatomy lesson about the lungs, a presentation, and interactive activities to identify asthma triggers and manage asthma attacks.

Medicine students raising asthma awareness in school

Before the presentation the greatest lack of knowledge was in asthma treatment and management. Data from the scheme’s quiz shows that this was also the greatest area of improvement following the sessions, with children scoring on average 42% before the presentation and 92% after the presentation. The team also found that the children are able to retain the knowledge, remembering all five key points from the session, five months later.

Peers added: “Education and awareness about asthma from a young age is key to building a generation that will take responsibility of their own health, hopefully reducing asthma-related deaths that occur before reaching hospital.”

There are plans under way to expand the scheme to schools across South Wales and to collaborate with Cardiff University’s Welsh-speaking society to educate children in Welsh schools. Cardiff University is also creating a package for teachers to educate them about the condition and its management within the classroom.

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