A study of hospital data in New York City found the spike in admissions in two to three weeks after the return to school. Additional New York studies indicated that cold and dry weather in autumn mostly increased admissions in the school-aged population (<18), while hot and dry weather in the summer caused spikes in asthma admissions across all ages. Doctor visits increase every September in many Northern Hemisphere countries. It happens in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Israel, Finland, Trinidad, and Canada, where 20% to 25% of all childhood asthma exacerbations requiring hospitalization have occurred in September.
|Asthma hospitalizations in children 2-15 years in Canada|
As students return to school, they are exposed to an increased number of indoor allergens, irritants and health risks. The “flu season” is approaching, weed pollen is not over yet, and indoor air is filled with pests, mold, dust mites, animal dander, chalk
dust, cleaning agents, scented and unscented personal care products and fumes.
So what can you do to manage asthma at school? Home environment is easier to control, but if you know your triggers, you can develop a plan – like asking teachers that pet animals with fur and feathers are not kept inside classrooms, dry-erase boards or “dustless” chalk are used instead of regular chalk and making sure that kids with asthma have reliable friends that can support them.
Sears MR, & Johnston NW (2007). Understanding the September asthma epidemic. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 120 (3), 526-9 PMID: 17658590
Lin S, Jones R, Liu X, & Hwang SA (2011). Impact of the return to school on childhood asthma burden in New York State. International journal of occupational and environmental health, 17 (1), 9-16 PMID: 21344814
Lee CC, Sheridan SC, & Lin S (2012). Relating weather types to asthma-related hospital admissions in New York State. EcoHealth, 9 (4), 427-39 PMID: 23224756
Choi IS, Lee SS, Myeong E, Lee JW, Kim WJ, Jin J. (2013) Seasonal variation in skin sensitivity to aeroallergens. Allergy Asthma Immunol Res. 2013 Sep;5(5):301-8. doi: 10.4168/aair.2013.5.5.301.
Bates DV, Baker-Anderson M, Sizto R. (1990) Asthma attack periodicity: a study of hospital emergency visits in Vancouver. Environ Res 1990; 51:51-70.
Weiss KB. Strachan D, Hansell A, Hollowell J, McNiece R, Nichols T, Anderson HR, et al. (1999) Collation and comparison of data on respiratory disease. Report to the Department of Health, August 1999.
Rosas I, McCartney HA, Payne RW, Calderon C, Lacey J, Chapela R, et al. Analysis of the relationships between environmental factors (aeroallergens, air pollution, and weather) and asthma emergency admissions to a hospital in Mexico City. Allergy 1998;53:394-401.
Garty BZ, Kosman E, Ganor E, Berger V, Garty L, Wietzen T, et al. Emergency room visits of asthmatic children, relation to air pollution, weather, and airborne allergens. Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol 1998; 81:563-70.
Harju T, Keistinen T, Tuuoponen T, Kivela S-L. Seasonal variation in childhood asthma hospitalizations in Finland, 1972-1992. Eur J Pediatr. 1997;156:436-9.
Monteil MA, Juman S, Hassanally R, Williams KP, Pierre L, Rahaman M, et al. Descriptive epidemiology of asthma in Trinidad, West Indies. J Asthma 2000;37:677-84.