Parents reminded of September spike in asthma cases

September 13, 2019

CALGARY – Alberta Health Services (AHS) reminds parents of the September spike in pediatric asthma flare-ups that occurs approximately two weeks after the start of the new school year.

AHS hospitals and emergency departments, as well as those throughout Canada, experience a spike in asthma visits and admissions in September when about 20 to 25 per cent of yearly hospital admissions for asthma occur.

The most frequent asthma trigger is the common cold (85 per cent), which is often brought on by kids being back in close contact with each other, sharing drinks and snacks, seasonal temperature changes, mould, seasonal smoke and other environmental allergens, and germ exposure in classrooms.

Other causes for this seasonal increase in asthma can include poor asthma management during the summer months, seasonable holiday and summer breaks from asthma medications, as well as stress from going back to school.

Many asthma-related hospital visits and admissions can be controlled with proper asthma management:

  • Ensure children take their asthma medication as prescribed. Even if children aren’t displaying asthma symptoms, they should continue to take their medication to avoid inflammation in their lungs. Ensure asthma puffers are not empty.
  • Ensure children have an asthma action plan they follow
  • Know a child’s asthma triggers and how to avoid them
  • Ensure you and your child practise consistent and correct hand-washing throughout the day
  • Everyone should be vaccinated against the seasonal flu, especially those with asthma

See a doctor if your child has asthma symptoms that don’t go away. If your child has severe asthma symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department.

Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.

For media inquiries, contact:

Janet Mezzarobba
AHS Communications