School is back, and parents across Vancouver Island are settling into a regular, if not at times, frantic morning routine.
Out of bed? Check.
To the bus on time? Check.
According to the Asthma Society of Canada, September is Asthma Peak Month. Approximately 25 per cent of all hospital admissions for pediatric asthma – for the entire year – will occur this month. In fact, experts actually predict that on or around September 23, there will be a significant peak in the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma.
“We see it every year in our emergency departments, and in many cases, these visits are avoidable,” says Island Health Respirologist Dr. John Reid.
There are a number of factors contributing to the back-to-school September surge, he said. Over the summer, children can get out of their routine of using inhalers regularly, and with holidays, parents sometimes let prescriptions lapse. Once children are back in school, they are in close contact with each other and to viruses like the common cold. Colds actually account for up to 85 percent of asthma flare-ups.
Dr. Reid says parents can take proactive steps. Fill those prescriptions. Get your child back into the routine of using his/her inhaled asthma controller medication regularly. Develop an Asthma Action Plan, a strategy to manage your child’s asthma when it flares, and share the plan with your school.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Dr. Reid explains.
• Asthma affects roughly 20 percent of children under the age of nine.
• Colds cause up to 85 percent of asthma triggers in young children.
• School-aged kids have eight colds a year per average.
• On average, the hospitalization rate for school-aged children peaks 17.7 days after Labour Day.
• Each year, more than 20,000 children are hospitalized for asthma across Canada.
Source: Asthma Society of Canada