Approximately 25 per cent of all hospital admissions for pediatric asthma – for the entire year – will occur this month, according to Asthma Canada. In fact, experts predict that on or around Sept. 22, there will be a significant peak in the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma.
Asthma Canada says 20 per cent of children under nine have asthma and more than 20,000 of those children will be hospitalized each year due to the condition.
This year, Island Health is hoping some common sense tips will help reduce the spread of illnesses that can cause serious asthmatic events which could lead to hospitalization.
There are a number of factors contributing to the back-to-school surge in asthma flare-ups, according to Island Health. Over the summer, children can get out of their routine of using inhalers and sometimes, in the holiday excitement, parents may let prescriptions lapse. Once children are back in school, they are in close contact with each other and with germs like the common cold – and colds account for up to 85 per cent of asthma flare-ups.
“Because we can predict this unfortunate spike in asthma-related hospital admissions, we can also take steps prevent the outbreak,” says Island Health Respirologist Dr. John Reid. “Proper hand hygiene is your child’s best defence against colds, and colds are by far the greatest trigger for asthma-related illnesses.”
Reid says other than practicing good hand hygiene, it’s also important to ensure your child’s prescription is filled and has not expired, make sure they are routinely using their inhaled asthma controller medication and that your family has an “Asthma Action Plan” – a strategy to manage your child’s asthma when it flares. Also be sure to share that plan with your child’s school, Reid says, so they know what to do and who to contact should a flare-up occur.
For more information on asthma, visit asthma.ca.