Kids with asthma need help to beat the bullies
MORE than 1,000 children in Derbyshire are teased or bullied because they have asthma, according to the research of a county expert.
And Dr Will Carroll said these youngsters were at an increased risk of bullying if they participated little in sport, struggled to control their asthma or their parents expressed concern to others about their health.
The paediatric consultant at the Derbyshire Children's Hospital has returned from presenting the results of the research at a conference in Austria's capital city, Vienna.
His findings came from a global study, called Room to Breathe, which was conducted in 2009.
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It determined – following interviews with 943 young asthma sufferers and their parents, from six different countries – that about 10% of children with the condition are bullied because of it.
Using this data, Dr Carroll and his team have now done further research into why youngsters with asthma are at an increased risk of being bullied.
And he said the findings of both studies were as relevant for parents in Derbyshire as the rest of the world.
He said: "If we take the fact that one in 10 children have asthma and then the result that one in 10 of them are bullied about it, as the 10% suggests, then we're looking at about 1% of all children.
"Looking at Derbyshire, that's likely to mean more than 1,000 children being bullied because of asthma. It's no worse than anywhere else but it's obviously not nice for those affected.
"But what our findings do show is the need for doctors and nurses to speak to their patients about the effects their condition has on all aspects of their life."
Dr Carroll said other risk factors associated with bullying was if the child's parent smoked or if the youngster displayed signs of sadness about their condition.
But he said poor asthma control was one of the most important elements.
He said: "This was found to be a big risk factor associated with bullying.
"But, while parents will not accept average GCSE or A-level grades, they do seem to accept average asthma control.
"However, there are ways of improving this so children don't have different symptoms in the day and night or need to use their blue inhaler more than twice a week.
"As doctors, we must work with these families to ensure these risk factors are removed."