Back-to-school means the return of germ swapping and a dramatic increase in serious asthma attacks, known as the September Epidemic. Nearly 25 percent of all children’s asthma hospitalizations happen in September. Here’s how you can avoid this epidemic.
Wash hands or use hand sanitizer often.
Wash thoroughly before eating and touching the face, and after using the restroom.
Follow an Asthma Action Plan.
An Asthma Action Plan shows symptoms and peak flow meter numbers to watch, and when to take long-term control and quick-relief medications to control asthma.
Cover nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
Germs can travel 100 MPH during a sneeze, so cover your nose and mouth with a tissue, handkerchief or your elbow to stop them.
Monitor symptoms and peak flow rates.
A peak flow meter measures the flow of exhaled air, and can identify the start of an asthma episode. Watch for cough, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and wheezing.
Keep sick family members home.
Talk with your child's doctor about staying home from school due to asthma triggers, peak flow readings, fever, or needing additional medicine.
Use medication before symptoms begin.
If a pre-treatment is prescribed, take it 10 to 15 minutes before exercise to open airways and prevent asthma symptoms.
Consistently take asthma and allergy medications, even when symptom free.
To keep your asthma under control, follow your Asthma Action Plan. Take medications as written, to prevent or decrease breathing difficulty.
Minimize environmental triggers.
Know what triggers your child’s asthma such as allergens, pet dander and smoke by wash away allergens, keep bedrooms free of pet dander and avoiding all types of smoke.
Keep medication refills on hand.
Note on your calendar when medications need to be refilled so you always have asthma medicines when you need it.
Keep asthma medication and peak flow meter at school.
Make sure your child’s school has a copy of the Asthma Action Plan, extra daily and rescue medications, and a peak flow meter to help monitor symptoms.
This information was reviewed by Ronina A. Covar, MD, August 2018.