CHILDREN ending up in hospital with asthma attacks have more than doubled in the last year, data shows.
More than 19,000 kids were admitted in England and Wales from 2021 to 2022, up 149 per cent on the 7,850 recorded in the previous 12 months.
The surge may have been caused by children mixing after the Covid pandemic, spreading viruses like cold and flu that can trigger attacks, experts said.
Parents were warned they are the “first-line defence in keeping their children safe” and should make sure they know what to do in an emergency.
Sarah Woolnough, of Asthma + Lung UK, said: “Despite concerted NHS efforts, far too many children are ending up in hospital, struggling for breath, and this must change.
“Childhood is a window of opportunity for lung health, and people need to realise how dangerous lung conditions can be.”
Around 8million Brits — 12 per cent of the population — have been diagnosed with asthma.
It is caused by breathing tubes swelling in reaction to a trigger, which can include allergies, smoke, pollution, exercise or infections.
Anyone with the condition can have a potentially life-threatening asthma attack, when symptoms like wheezing and breathlessness become dangerous.
The charity previously claimed people cutting back on medicine, heating or food because of the cost of living crisis triggered a rise in attacks last year.
Ms Woolnough said children should take their preventer inhaler everyday as prescribed and use a reliever inhaler when symptoms flare up.
She said: “Hospital admissions for children with asthma are bouncing back which is very worrying.
“There is often a ‘golden opportunity’ to get help before a child really starts to struggle with asthma symptoms.
“Common signs that a child might be at risk of an asthma attack include increased coughing, especially when doing activities, a lot of coughing at night, wheezing, and a tight chest.
“But symptoms vary, which is why it’s important that parents, carers, and teachers are all familiar with a child’s individual triggers and red flags.”