September — the “asthma epidemic” month

The back-to-school days of early fall are exciting but stressful for kids and parents. The last thing your child needs during this busy time is an asthma attack! Unfortunately, September is the most dangerous month for children with allergy-induced asthma. In fact, the largest number of hospitalizations for asthma occurs 17 days after Labor Day. This year, that day is Sept. 19h.

Why September?

As children return to school, external factors create a “perfect storm” of asthma triggers:
•    Respiratory allergens
•    Environmental irritants
•    Viral infections

Most significantly, ragweed — one of the largest contributors to upper-respiratory symptoms in the United States — produces pollen most aggressively after the middle of August. In addition, indoor allergens found in schools, such as chalk dust, mold, dust mites and aerosol sprays, can trigger severe symptoms in asthma sufferers. And as children interact in the classroom, they pass around viral infections. A simple cold can cause additional problems for a child with asthma, leading to an increase in the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms.

What can parents do?

The most important action you can take is to determine your child’s asthma triggers and reduce his or her exposure to them. Your child’s doctor can identify allergens through a blood test. Remember that continued exposure to asthma triggers will increase the severity of your child’s symptoms. You can help regulate your home environment by following these steps:
•    Control mold buildup in bathrooms and bedrooms.
•    Reduce your child’s exposure to dust mites; try using allergen-proof pillowcases.
•    Removing pile carpeting that can trap dust and pet dander.

By learning how to manage asthma triggers, you and your child can approach the dreaded month of September with a lighter spirit — and you’ll both breathe easier!

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