Asthma is one of the most common paediatric diseases, with someone being hospitalised from an attack every eight minutes. As the number of diagnosed cases of the disease has risen, so too has pollution levels. I will be looking to establish whether there is a link and if so, how best to manage children’s physical activity levels.
It is well established exercise is a vital part of the management of the disease, but this produces quite the conundrum given children are more susceptible to the effects of pollution and tend to spend more time outdoors than adults. If we are able to influence the type or location of activity based on specific air quality readings, hopefully the burden of asthma, and fear of an attack, can be reduced.
I am a qualified Physical Education and Dance teacher, having most recently taught for six years at Millfield Senior School in Somerset. I am also diagnosed with a severe form of asthma and understand how frightening it can be as a child to feel like you are taking a “risk” every time you play in a park with your friends, or play for your school’s sport’s team. I am hoping to be able to use my experiences and continual learning to connect with those living with asthma to help increase awareness and the promotion of sports in a safe and manageable way and help find solutions for those in highly polluted areas – an environmental factor we already know can act as a trigger. When well I ski, play netball, rock climb and am an Irish Dancer.