Wednesday, August 27, 2014

September is the "perfect storm" time for asthma problems.

     A surprising fact for many families who have a child with asthma is that the peak month for asthma visits to the doctor's office, urgent care, and emergency department is often September. Why? It does not seem that it should be September -- the weather is still nice and the school year just started (and can the germs be that bad?). But the combination of the weed pollen season (mid August through late October), exposure to lots of germs as kids are back in the classroom, and the weather changes make September the worst month for asthma most years.
     What can you do to prevent problems? The most important thing to do is to have your child regularly take their controller medication to prevent flare ups of the asthma symptoms. Many families let their guard down at this time of the year with asthma. Many children have gotten out of the habit of using their controller medication (steroid inhaler or Singulair, most commonly). As these medications need time to work in your system (weeks), many children are more vulnerable at a time when those factors mentioned above make this a bad time of the year for asthma.
     So what to do? If your child has asthma triggered by allergies or illness (these are the big causes for the vast majority of the kids we see) and you realize your child has not regularly used their preventative medication(s), start back right now. If you want to further discuss your child's asthma care, follow-up with your pediatrician, allergist, or pulmonologist. And if you need medication refills, for both albuterol when your child does wheeze or for controller medications to prevent the asthma, call your child's doctor's office.

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