September Epidemic: Asthma attacks increase during back to school season

GREAT FALLS- It's something someone may never think of as their child starts a new school year, an asthma attack spike during September. It's so common, doctors are now calling it the "September Epidemic".

A recent study shows asthma attacks requiring hospitalizations are more common during September, especially in younger children.

Doctors said, there's a direct correlation between kindergarten and first graders asthma symptoms increasing when they head back to school.

Dr. Renee Johnson with Alluvion Health explained that this is because there are more germs and allergen exposure. Even the dust from the chalkboards can increase a child's asthma. Doctors said one-fourth of all asthma exacerbations happen during this month.

"It's pretty much nationwide even in other countries you'll see the Septemeber Epidemic. They had studies in the United Kingdom and Canada,” said Johnson. You'll see it starts to correlate very strongly with right after a few weeks of school starts.”

Doctors said asthma is more common in younger children. If children are taking their proper medication for their asthma, they shouldn't be affected by the September Epidemic.

However, doctors said it's really important to make sure their asthma action plans are updated with school.

Doctors said parents should look out for signs and symptoms including reoccurring wheezing and prolonged coughs after being sick. Asthma is caused by inflammation that causes airways to constrict resulting in someone having a difficult time breathing.

"I would make sure they have their inhalers, the school has their inhalers, everybody was up to date on their asthma action plan, if you were given a controlled medication you should definitely be taking it,” said Johnson.

Doctors said children tend to go off their medication in the summer, so it's really important that they're taking it now that school is back in session. Along with that, make sure the child's medication is up to date.

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