Who doesn’t look forward to fall— cooler days, school activities and countless ways to enjoy the outdoors. The last thing your child needs during this busy time of year is an asthma attack.
Unfortunately, the beginning of fall marks the most dangerous time for children with allergy-induced asthma. In fact, the largest number of hospitalizations for asthma occurs 17 days after Labor Day.
During September in the Ohio Valley, a variety of factors combine to create a “perfect storm” of asthma triggers:
• Respiratory irritants: Indoor allergens found in schools, such as chalk dust and mold, as well as in your home, such as dust mites, aerosol sprays and those wonderfully scented candles that come out in fall, can trigger severe symptoms in asthma sufferers.
• Environmental irritants: Ragweed — one of the largest contributors to upper-respiratory issues— produces pollen most aggressively after the middle of August.
• Viral infections: As children are exposed to others in the classroom, they pass around germs. A simple cold can cause a child with asthma to have more frequent and severe asthma symptoms. Encourage your child to wash his hands frequently and not share drinks with classmates.
How can you help your child?
The most important action you can take is to determine your child’s asthma triggers and reduce exposure to them. Your child’s doctor can help you identify allergens that affect your child. Remember that continued exposure to asthma triggers will increase the severity of your child’s symptoms.
Beth VanCleave, R.N., BSN, AE-C, asthma clinician, Norton Children’s Hospital, recommends these ways to make your home an asthma-free zone:
• Control mold buildup in bathrooms and bedrooms.
• Use allergen-proof pillowcases and wash bed sheets every week.
• Avoid burning candles or incense in the home.
By managing asthma triggers, both you and your child can breathe easier during September.