Transformation Partners in Health and Care > News > Children and young people’s asthma fact sheet

This asthma fact sheet has been produced by the NHS England – London children and young people’s asthma programme.

Good asthma management reduces exacerbations and allows children and young people to lead full lives. We do not have to wait for new medicines or a cure for asthma: we need to educate and support everyone treating or supporting children and young with asthma to use these tools and work together to achieve improved outcomes. Find information and facts which highlight the risks and outcomes of poorly managed asthma below.

For further information, visit the London region children and young people’s asthma programme website.


Asthma fact sheet

1 in 11 children and young people are affected by asthma, which is around 3 in every London classroom – it is the most common long-term medical condition affecting this group.
Many have badly managed asthma, with over 20,000 admitted to hospital every year in England. Over 4% of these have such a severe episode that they are admitted to intensive care.
Children die in London because of asthma every year. 90% of asthma deaths are preventable with good asthma management: these children should have gone on to lead full and productive lives.
London has a higher rate of illness and death in children and young people because of asthma compared to other European countries.
Asthma is one of the top three causes of emergency admission to hospital (4,000 in London each year).

75% of these admissions would be avoidable through the implementation of simple interventions such as having a regular asthma review by an appropriately trained clinician, knowing how to use inhalers correctly, having a written asthma action plan and knowing about the potential impact of air pollution.

Nearly half of children admitted to hospital have had an asthma attack in the previous year and 30% have had daytime symptoms in the previous week. But only a fraction have a personalised asthma action plan on how their asthma should be managed.
Nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and other forms of air pollution are known triggers for asthma and poor health more widely, particularly in children and young people.
In 2022 London Ambulance Services (LAS) took 1,375 children to hospital for asthma and 6,191 children for breathlessness.
In 2021/22, 3,645 children were admitted to hospital with asthma in London and of those, 132 were admitted into London intensive care units and had a primary diagnosis of asthma (compared to 76 in 2020/21). The average length of stay was 3.7 days.

Rates in 2020/21 were lower due to lower exposure to pollution as well as (non-Covid) viral infections.

While COVID-19 is not thought to be a particular risk for children and young people with asthma, good asthma control and avoidance of unnecessary ED attendances is more important than ever.
Using nebuliser devices at home for the acute treatment of asthma in children and adolescents, without medical supervision, can make it harder to spot signs of worsening asthma. This could result in delays in seeking medical attention and have serious and even fatal consequences.

Only use nebuliser devices at home for the acute treatment of asthma in under 18s if recommended, initiated, and managed by an asthma specialist.

Learn more about the London region children and young people’s asthma programme.