Every September, asthma-related hospital stays rise, doctors see more people with asthma episodes and attacks. The third week of the month is the worst, it’s called the September Asthma Epidemic or Asthma Peak Week. Children tend to be the most affected during the month, with 25% of all asthma-related hospital stays in children happening in September. Overall, asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455,000 deaths.
Asthma attacks seem to rise this month due to ragweed and mold. Children have also returned to school increasing their risk of catching a respiratory illness or flu. Coming up with a battle plan is important, with the main goal being to prevent asthma attacks. Let’s discuss the various ways you can keep yourself and your family healthy during this season.
Asthma Action Plan
Everyone with asthma should have an Asthma Action Plan in writing. This plan provides information and instructions on how you can manage your asthma. It is important for childcare providers to know how to manage their child’s asthma.
- Recognizing when your symptoms get worse
- What to do in an emergency
Get the flu shot, it takes two weeks to take effect in your body, so get the shot as soon as it’s available – usually in September. Colds and flu are the top triggers for people with asthma, with 75% of people with asthma saying their symptoms get worse when they have a cold or the flu. Having a cold or the flu alongside asthma also puts you at risk of an asthma attack that could be life-threatening.
Talk with your doctor about getting the pneumococcal vaccine. You get the shot once and then get a booster later if you need it. You do not need this shot yearly. It helps prevent pneumonia and other illnesses. Because inflammation in the lungs can lead to an asthma attack, the airway dysfunction related to pneumonia can bring on a serious attack and cause severe complications. The bottom line, make sure you are working with your doctor to make sure your asthma is under control.
Wear a Mask
They can help reduce the spread of respiratory infections and your exposure to pollen. They can help children over 2 years old as well. Studies from 2020 showed that children had fewer asthma-related emergency room visits thanks to face masks, along with other preventive steps.
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Wash Your Hands
Take steps to avoid getting sick, including washing your hands often and for at least 20 seconds. Don’t touch your eyes, mouth, and nose. Here is a video on how to effectively wash your hands this season: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eZw4Ga3jg3E
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If you are allergic to ragweed or mold, take steps to reduce your exposure to those allergens:
- Ask everyone to remove their shoes before entering your home.
- Keep your windows and doors closed during peak pollen times.
- Use a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® air filter on your home’s air conditioner and furnace/heater.
- Cover your hair when you go outside, or shower and wash your hair before bedtime. Consider using a saline nasal rinse.
- Talk with your allergist about possible treatments for your allergies.