Doctors say that September is one of the worst times for asthma sufferers and claim that they see more cases during the this month than any other time of year. Nearly 7 million children and adolescents in the U.S. suffer from asthma. Allergens and respiratory infections can make asthma symptoms worse and with so many children headed back to school during September, it is easy for them to catch a virus or bacteria that can affect the lungs.
Dr. Holly Hanes, pulmonary specialist at Brenner Children’s Hospital, said “Indoor allergens such as dust and molds, and with the increase in outdoor allergens with ragweed, pollen and the weather changes, all of these factors together can increase their risk of having more asthma symptoms.”
“It creates a vicious cycle when we limit activity on children with asthma, which leads to symptoms of them being more sedentary and then overweight and then their asthma is much more difficult to control.”
Many doctors believe that encouraging asthma sufferers to exercise and be active can actually improve symptoms. Kristin Carson, a doctoral student specializing in respiratory medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Adelaide, Australia said,
“Sometimes people with asthma don’t like to use medications all the time. Some people simply forget to use them whilst others use them but not regularly enough to prevent asthma attacks. She considers physical exercise a valuable alternative approach to help control asthma attacks.
There are other things parents can do to help children cope with asthma during the fall and winter, aside from exercising in moderation. Dr. Hanes says parents should keep their children away from secondhand smoke, make sure all asthma medications are current and up to date and make sure the child gets a flu shot every year.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.