Asthma-related Emergency Room Visits Peak the Third Week of September

Warning message

This news item is more than a year old. Links, graphics, content, medical information, and statistics may be out of date. We invite you to search, visit our homepage, or contact us to find more current information on the topic you're looking for.

Asthma-related Emergency Room Visits Peak the Third Week of September

Saskatoon, September 18, 2006 “ For many residents in Saskatchewan, the end of summer means that the distraction associated with summer holidays in the workplace is over for another year.  If there are school age children in the home, it means gathering school supplies, digging out fall clothes and establishing back-to-school routines. 


If you have a child with asthma, there is an added consideration.   The return to classes can also mean the increased risk of asthma episodes and worsening asthma control.  This increase starts after the return to school and reaches its peak about the third week in September.  It is commonly referred to as the September Effect or SeptemberAsthmaPeak. In a study conducted by the Lung Association, 16% “ 21% of our school children, in grades 1 to 6, have asthma.

Recent research published in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology points to the common cold virus as the cause for the spike in asthma-related emergency room visits each year in September.  Cold viruses are one of the most common triggers for asthma symptoms.  Rhinovirus “ the bug responsible for the common cold “ is spread easily from person to person.  Classrooms, schoolyards and buses “ places where lots of kids are in close contact with each other “ aid the spread of germs, thereby increasing the risk of infection.   Prevention is the key through:  proper hand-washing; disposal of used tissues; and contact avoidance of the hands to the face and nose.

Fortunately, the research findings are not all doom and gloom for children with asthma and their families.   Researchers found that the use of controller medication significantly reduced the risk of emergency room treatment for asthma during the September surge.  You can protect your child from the ˜September Effect' by ensuring good asthma control all year round.  Asthma control means:   knowing your triggers and avoiding them; have a written asthma action plan; learning how to use medications properly; and working with a certified asthma educator to learn how to manage the asthma.

Communication with teachers and school staff is also important. Set up an appointment to talk to your child's teacher, ensure that they have a copy of your child's asthma action plan and confirm that they know what to do in an emergency.  Asthma episodes or worsening symptoms can 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.  They are able to notice worsening signs and symptoms of asthma as well as any exercise-induced bronchospasm.  By knowing the early warning signs of poor asthma control, teachers can help to prevent a major emergency.

Tips for handling colds “ Your child may end up with the sniffles despite best efforts to avoid getting sick.  Refer to the child's written action plan or speak to the child's physician about what steps to take to manage the asthma both during a cold and on a day-to-day basis.  It also helps to encourage extra rest and fluids during bouts of illness.  Finally, support your child in returning to regular activities, like sports, when feeling better.

The Lung Association, the premier source for respiratory health initiatives in the province, is active in communities across Saskatchewan conducting programs on asthma, COPD and sleep apnea, providing training for health professionals, delivering health education in our schools, and facilitating patient support groups and lobbying for clean air.  To learn more about asthma, or to speak with an asthma educator, please refer to our web site at or call the Lung Association at 1-888-566-LUNG.

For more information contact:
Brian Graham, President & CEO
(306) 343-9640, ext. 222 or 1-888-566-LUNG

When You Can't Breathe, Nothing Else Matters!


AddThis Social Sharing Icon

Page Last Updated: 18/09/2006