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Fury’s study of asthma in children shows a strong north-south divide in some cases

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Experts believe air pollution and poor housing conditions in the north are why children there are twice as likely to need an inhaler to treat asthma.

Children living in the north have a higher risk of developing asthma
Children living in the north have a higher risk of developing asthma

Activists are calling for action on childhood asthma after a study showed a sharp north-south divide in cases.

Experts believe air pollution and poor housing conditions in the North West are responsible for children there needing an inhaler almost twice as often.

NHS prescription figures show nearly a million young people aged 16 and under received asthma treatment in the past year.

But the rate in some of the worst areas was almost twice that in places in the Southeast.

Sarah Woolnough, head of the charity Asthma + Lung UK, said: “It is unacceptable that your postcode determines how likely you are to get lung disease – and how deadly it will be.”

The numbers are another task to add to the government’s leveling agenda, which is trying to iron out social and economic disparities between North and South.







Ella, pictured with her mother, lived just off one of London’s busiest streets
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Picture:

collect unknown)

While asthma may have genetic factors, experts say living around smokers, exposure to air pollution and a cold or damp home can be key to increasing a child’s chance of developing the lung disease.

Statistics from the NHS Business Services Authority show that in the worst areas of the Clinical Commissioning Group for childhood asthma, more than one in 10 children have asthma.

Blackburn CCG has the highest rate – with 11.1% of its pediatric patients being prescribed asthma treatments.

Nearby towns such as Bury, Oldham, Rochdale and Wigan are also in the top 10 worst in England.

In contrast, the lowest was in Oxfordshire CCG, where the prescription rate for childhood asthma was only 6.5%.







Air pollution is one of the biggest causes of asthma
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Picture:

Manchester evening news)

Of the millions of children with asthma, about half experience a severe attack each year. The statistics come after a 2019 report by Asthma UK highlighted that some people were at a higher risk of dying from asthma based on their income level and where they lived.

Last year the government launched the first phase of a special care plan for children with asthma, emphasizing the importance of early diagnosis and effective preventive treatment.

Before the pandemic, around 200 severe cases of asthma were being treated in hospital every day. The disease claims around 1,000 lives annually.







Ms Wooldnough said the poorest neighborhoods are seven times more likely to die
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Picture:

John Nicholson)

According to Asthma + Lung UK, 1,200 people in Greater Manchester die prematurely each year from toxic air.

The area also has some of the worst rates of lung disease and hospitalizations among children with asthma.

Ms Woolnough added: “The situation is bleak. With people in the poorest neighborhoods now seven times more likely to die from respiratory disease than those in the richest, we cannot address lung disease without addressing these inequalities.”

Clean air campaigner Julia Kovaliova believes living next to one of Manchester’s busiest streets has triggered her 12-year-old son Maksim’s asthma.

Great Ancoats Street runs near her city center apartment.

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She said: “It’s scary to see your child struggling to breathe and we believe pollution is at the root of the problem.”

In 2020, nine-year-old Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah became the first to have air pollution recorded as a factor in her death. An inquiry revealed the asthmatic boy lived near South Circular Road in Lewisham, south-east London.

However, South East London and two other CCGs in the capital are among the 10 with the lowest proportions of children taking asthma medication.

This is because these CCGs cover very large areas and while some parts are polluted with significant deprivation, others are greener and among the most prosperous in England.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/fury-childrens-asthma-study-shows-27091224 Fury's study of asthma in children shows a strong north-south divide in some cases

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