Have you Heard of the September Spike?

Every fall, around the third week of September, there is a spike in the number of emergency room visits and hospitalizations for children with asthma. Some factors that may contribute to this spike include:

  • Children forgetting to use their asthma medications over the summer months when they have less routine.
  • Increased risk of respiratory infections from spending more time in communal environments like classrooms, school busses, or extracurricular activities.
  • Strong emotional responses, like anxiety about returning to school.
  • Exposure to any fall allergies your child may have.

Fortunately, because we know about many of the factors that contribute to asthma flare ups, there are steps you can take to help keep your child’s asthma under control. As your child returns to school, make sure to:

  • Get your child in the routine of using their medications, including inhalers, as prescribed.
  • Teach your child good hand washing habits and to stay away from people who are sick to avoid catching a respiratory infection (respiratory infections trigger about 85% of asthma flare ups).
  • Update your child’s vaccines.
  • Reduce your child’s exposure to known allergens as much as you can.
  • Watch for signs of asthma flare ups, including coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and any waking nighttime symptoms.
  • Have access to a rescue inhaler and make sure your child knows how to use it properly.
  • Make an appointment with your family doctor if your child experiences persistent symptoms.

If your child does not have an asthma action plan, talk to your family doctor about meeting with a respiratory therapist. A respiratory therapist can answer any questions you or your child may have about asthma, different inhalers, and how to manage their symptoms.