Canadian Lung Association Blog

Avoid Back-to-School Flare-ups

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Help your kids avoid the September spike in asthma symptoms

As summer winds down, many parents start gearing up for the school year. That usually means buying school supplies and longer pants. But for parents of children with asthma, getting ready for school should also include taking steps to protect their kids from the “September Spike” – the sharp rise in kids’ asthma symptoms that happens soon after school begins.

What is to blame for the September Spike in asthma symptoms?

When kids go back to school, they are suddenly at close quarters with many kids – and with the germs and viruses kids carry. Viruses, including the common cold, are one of the top triggers for asthma symptoms in kids. For kids with asthma, especially uncontrolled asthma, a simple cold can lead to dangerous symptoms and unscheduled visits to the doctor and emergency room.

Other triggers (things that make asthma worse) can also set off asthma in September. It is peak season for ragweed, some pollens, dust and moulds. It is also a time of higher stress. These are all common triggers for kids with asthma.

School-age children are not the only ones affected by the September Spike. Children with colds often pass their germs to family members and adults with asthma also have a spike in symptoms each September.

5 Healthy Tips for Students with Asthma to Breathe Easy

With good asthma control, your child should not miss school and should be able to participate fully in school activities including sports.

  1. Work with your doctor/health care provider and put an asthma action plan into place.
  2. Provide a copy of your child’s asthma action plan and explain what it means to their teacher.
  3. Educate your child’s teachers about asthma.
    • List and explain your child’s asthma triggers and why it’s important to avoid them.
    • Show teacher’s your child’s asthma medicines and how to use them properly.
    • Make sure the teachers know which medicine is the rescue medicine that helps in an asthma emergency (usually the blue inhaler).
    • Ask about the school’s rules about asthma medicines.
    • Ask about policies for field trips and emergency actions.
  1. Remind your child to wash hands often and properly.
  2. Call the Lung Association and speak to one of our Certified Respiratory Educators to learn more! 1-888-566-LUNG

 

 

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One comment on “Avoid Back-to-School Flare-ups
  1. Cathy Baiton says:

    I posted this comment last evening (September 5), but as it is not yet appearing on the site, am posting it again, in case my original comment had been lost:

    Air pollution, from sources including wood fires, is an asthma trigger that the blog post doesn’t mention. In many places, wood burning is a major source of air pollution. It would be a helpful and very welcome change if the Canadian Lung Association were to start standing up much more effectively for the right of children and others to breathe healthy, unpolluted, smoke-free air in their homes and neighbourhoods, year-round.

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