Back to school asthma

    Monday, 11 September 2017 17:49  Blog

Summer is just about over.  Everyone in the family has hopefully been healthy, but now it’s back to school.  About 2-3 weeks after the summer school break ends there is always a big increase in children’s asthma symptom, and emergency room visits.  In the northern hemisphere (such as the USA, Canada, and Europe) it’s known as the “September Spike”.  It occurs earlier or later depending on when school reopens, but typically 2-3 weeks after the first day of school. In Australia and New Zealand, it happens after the Christmas break (which is the end of their summer recess).

The most likely cause for the “September spike” is viral infections.  Once the children are in the classroom it doesn’t take long for the first child to have a cold which then spreads to his or her classmates, and viral infections are one of the most common causes of asthma flare ups.

What you can do to prevent an emergency trip to the doctor for an asthma attack:

  1. Make sure your child is taking his asthma medications routinely
  2. Have an asthma action plan in place at home and school if there is an asthma flare up
  3. Make sure that you know the signs of an early asthma flare up (cough, wheezing, shortness of breath), and treat these symptoms as soon as they start
  4. Speak with the teacher and if possible visit the classroom.  There can be many types of triggers in the classroom including chalk dust and mold.  Look for potential allergens, especially if your child has a food allergy.
  5. Make sure that your child gets the flu shot.  1 out of every 5 Americans gets the flu each year, and the flu is a major trigger for asthma.