September and School: The "Perfect Storm" for Asthma

    How parents and students with asthma can avoid the September spike

    TORONTO, Sept. 5 /CNW/ - As summer winds down, many parents and students
focus on the school year ahead. That usually means buying school supplies and
longer pants. But for parents of children with asthma, the start of the school
year should also include taking preventative steps to protect their kids from
the "September Spike" - the annual increase in asthma-related emergency room
visits that happens when school begins.
    Cold viruses - that are easily spread from person to person - are one of
the most common triggers for asthma symptoms. Kids are in close contact with
each other in classrooms, schoolyards and buses. This close contact helps
germs spread and increases kids' risk of infection.
    "Many respirologists refer to the September Spike as the 'perfect
storm'," says Carole Madeley, director of Respiratory Health Programs for the
Ontario Lung Association. "Cold viruses, combined with the fact that many kids
with asthma have changed or interrupted their regular asthma management
schedule over the summer months, act as major triggers, resulting in Emergency
Departments across the province chock a block with asthma patients."
    The good news is that parents can take steps to prevent their children
from having an asthma attack. The use of controller medication significantly
reduces the risk of emergency room treatment for asthma. By ensuring good
asthma control, you can protect your child all year round.

    Here's what you can do:

    -   Know your child's triggers and avoiding them
    -   Have a written asthma action plan
    -   Learn how to use medications properly
    -   Work with a certified asthma educator to learn about asthma

    You can also slow the spread of viruses by fighting germs and washing
hands properly.

    Communication with school is critical

    Communication with teachers and school staff is also important. Set up an
appointment to talk to your child's teachers before classes start, if
    Give your child's teachers a copy of his/her asthma action plan and make
sure that they know what to do in an emergency.
    Keep in mind that for many people, worsening asthma symptoms happen
slowly. Teachers are well positioned to observe any problems your child may be
having due to asthma because they see your child for long periods each day. By
knowing and reporting the early warning signs of poor asthma control, teachers
can help to prevent a major breathing emergency.

    If your child gets sick

    Your child may end up with the sniffles despite best efforts to avoid
getting sick. Here's what you can do:

    -   Refer to your child's written asthma action plan, or speak to your
        doctor about asthma management both during a cold and on a day-to-day
    -   Encourage extra rest and fluids during bouts of illness.
    -   Allow them to return to regular activities, like sports, only when
        your child is feeling better.
    -   Teach proper hand-washing technique and remind your child to throw
        away used tissues.
    -   Stay away from people who are sick.

    To speak to a certified asthma educator, please call the Ontario Lung
Association's Asthma Action Helpline: 
( at 1-888-344-LUNG

    Learn more

    Asthma at school:
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    Asthma treatment:
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    /NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available on
    the CNW Photo Network and archived at
    Additional archived images are also available on the CNW Photo Archive
    website at Images are free to accredited
    members of the media/

For further information:

For further information: Additional information/media inquiries: Karen
Petcoff, Ontario Lung Association, (416) 864-9911 ext 283

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