How to Control Your Child’s Asthma

A spike in asthma symptoms and flare-ups among children who have asthma is expected to start in late August and continue through the end of September.

Asthma is one of the most common long-term diseases among children. Asthma causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightening and couching at night or early in the morning. If you have asthma, you have it all the time. “Asthma attacks” occur only when something bothers the lungs. An asthma attack can make you feel like you are drowning. 

What defines the annual late-August to late-September spike: 

  • An increase in the number of children’s asthma-related medical visits, asthma attacks and hospitalizations occur each year as kids return to school from summer break.

  • Caused, in part, by the increase in respiratory infections among kids who are exposed to more germs once they return to school. 

There are also some common triggers that can cause a child’s asthma to act up or worsen. 

  • The common cold passed around from child-to-child

  • The change from a relaxed summer schedule to a structured school day and its impact on medication schedules

  • It is the peak time of year for molds and pollen 

When your child is suffering from asthma there are a few steps that you can take to help your child control their symptoms: 

  1. Check in regularly with your child’s doctor to make sure that any prescribed asthma medication is working and that you have medications and supplies from home and school. Request a physician’s note if your child will need medications at school. 

  2. Make sure your child takes all medications as directed. 

  3. Alert school staff regarding your child’s asthma, including details about your child’s asthma triggers and signs of an asthma attack. 

  4. Empower your child by teaching him/her about asthma, including how to notice triggers and warning signs. 

  5. Reduce asthma triggers at home by washing bedding with hot water weekly and using allergy-proof covers on mattresses and pillows. 

  6. Prevent the spread of germs by encouraging proper hand-washing by the entire family, and making sure that every family member age 6 months and older receives an annual flu shot. 

In advance of this annual spike, parents should consult with their child’s pediatrician to develop or update their child’s asthma action or management plan.

Asthma action plans indicate: 

  • A child’s daily treatment, including which meds to take and when to take them.

  • How to identify when asthma symptoms are severe enough to contact the child’s pediatrician or to take the child to an urgent care center or hospital emergency room.

  • Parents and schools of a child with asthma should have a copy of this asthma action plan and understand their responsibilities.