As the summer fades and autumn approaches, many asthma sufferers face an increase in their symptoms, often referred to as the "September asthma peak." This uptick in asthma-related symptoms and hospitalizations has been observed for several years and is particularly noticeable among school-aged children. Here's a look at why this happens and how you can take precautions.
The primary reasons for this spike include:
Return to School: When kids return to school, they're exposed to a variety of asthma triggers, including respiratory viruses, colds, and flu. Close quarters with other children mean germs spread easily.
Seasonal Allergens: September is the peak season for several allergens, including ragweed pollen, which is a common asthma trigger. Mold spores also increase with falling leaves and damp weather.
Changes in Weather: The fluctuating temperatures can sometimes make it challenging for asthma sufferers as cold mornings can be a trigger for some.
Always take your preventive asthma medicine as prescribed, even if you feel okay. It's designed to reduce inflammation in your airways over time, so skipping doses can leave you vulnerable.
Since respiratory infections can exacerbate asthma, it's wise to get vaccinated against the flu early in the season.
Work with your doctor to develop a written plan that outlines daily treatment, such as which medicines to take and when, and what to do during an asthma attack.
Keep windows closed during high pollen days, use air conditioning, and use air purifiers to reduce indoor allergens. Showering after outdoor activities can also help by removing pollen from the skin and hair.
On days when air quality is poor, limit outdoor activities. You can check your local air quality at websites like the Air Quality Index (AQI).
Ensure that the school knows about your child's asthma condition, and has a copy of their asthma action plan. They should also have access to their inhaler or any other necessary medication.
Even if your asthma is well-managed, regular check-ups are essential, especially leading into September.
By understanding the triggers of the September asthma peak and taking proactive measures, you can manage and potentially reduce your symptoms during this challenging period. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options.
Remember, preparation and awareness are the first steps towards ensuring that you, or your loved ones, breathe easy this fall.
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