A spike in hospital admissions among people with asthma in the month of September could be caused by children’s return to school and the spread of the common cold, a charity has said in response to new figures.
The figures show that emergency admissions for asthma are lowest in August and increase considerably in September.
Colds and viruses are a trigger for four fifths of people with asthma, charity Asthma UK said – which could explain the difference between the two months.
“When children return to school there is a spike in admissions, which we believe is likely to be caused by the common cold virus”
The figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) show that in the year to May 2014 one in nine of the 54,300 emergency admissions for asthma in England occurred in September, compared to just one in 20 during August.
This seasonal pattern has consistent for the past eight years, the HSCIC said in a report on hospital admissions.
In 2013-14 children accounted for the largest proportion of asthma emergency admissions to hospitals in England. Almost two in five (38%) admissions were for children under the age of 15.
HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: “Today’s report provides new focus on conditions that are usually manageable via primary care services but for some reason required hospitalisation.
The figures show seasonal trends for asthma and COPD emergency admissions,” he said. “The gender and age differences pointed out in today’s report offer insight into those hospitalised for a particular ambulatory care sensitive condition.”
Asthma UK cautioned that it was important that everyone with the condition knows when their symptoms are getting worse.
A charity spokeswoman said: “This data shows that there has been a peak in avoidable hospital admissions for people with asthma every autumn for the last eight years, and that last year 38% of admissions were for children.
“When children return to school there is a spike in admissions, which we believe is likely to be caused by the common cold virus,” she said.
“Colds and viruses are a trigger for 80% of people with asthma so these new figures reinforce just how important it is that everyone with asthma understands their condition and knows what to do if their symptoms are getting worse,” she added.
She called on asthma patients to ensure they had a personal action plan in place before September, noting that they could be downloaded from the charity’s website.