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Avoiding the Hospital During the September Spike

by Harriet Spitzer-Picker, MA- A-EC

September means back to school time: new books, new teachers, and even a new school in some cases. But did you know that it’s also known as the Asthma Spike month? Studies show that the third week in September is when we see spikes in asthma attacks. The reason for these spikes seems to be due to the fact that students start to come down with viral infections around this time. In addition, this is also a time of high allergies. Ragweed and molds are common causes; also allergens in the school classroom such as dust, class pets, and chalk can also cause symptoms.

While we might be unable to prevent the Asthma Spike we can take steps to reduce risk factors:
• Encourage good hand washing practices.
• Teach children to cover sneeze and coughs
• Discuss triggers in classrooms with parents of asthmatic students ( guinea pigs, hamsters, chalk dust, carpeting)
• Keep the home free from dust, especially the child’s bedroom
• Make sure all medications are up to date, and be extra vigilant about taking daily control medication 

At the start of the new school year, ensure parents of known asthmatics have the proper forms on file and medication available. Always encourage communication between the parent and the school nurse. Asthma management is always better when we are all on the same page.

Harriet Spitzer-Picker is a Certified Asthma Educator (AE-C).  In 2001, she left teaching in a New York City classroom to combine her three most important interests in life: teaching, asthma, and drama.  Harriet wrote the Asthma Basics curriculum for the New York City Department of Health, and is a memeber of  asthma coalltions in NYC and Long Island. She is also an asthmatic and mom to two boys with asthma and food allergies.

For more tips on how to prepare for the change in seasons, read 5 Asthma Triggers to Watch Out for in August.

Find out more about what Asthma Educators are doing to keep kids out of the hospital via our Asthma Education Program

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