People who live with asthma should prepare for the fall season when asthma symptoms are often exacerbated. With cooler temperatures, changing leaves, and football overtaking most TVs during the weekend, fall also brings an increase in asthma issues. The rise in asthma problems can be caused by respiratory infections, changing weather patterns, and for children, being exposed to more viruses during the school year.
The Asthma Society of Canada issues tips for asthma patients based on the season, as it believes each season presents unique issues. On the website, 4seasonsofasthma.ca, the society states, “asthma symptoms often vary over time, due to different environmental triggers such as mold or pollen spores. Just like the leaves on a tree change, these triggers can be different throughout the four seasons of the year.”
Pertaining specifically to fall, the website states, “Not only do the fall months bring discomfort to many allergy and asthma sufferers but it is compounded by the outdoor molds thriving in the damp environment created by falling and decaying leaves. Those who are allergic to both mold and fall pollen, such as ragweed, should monitor their symptoms closely and take preventative action.”
The society encourages all patients to get a flu shot each fall, continue using controller medication and be aware of elevating allergen levels that may trigger an attack. It also suggests review of the patient’s asthma action plan. The Centers for Disease Control has an asthma action plan template that works for both adults and children and can help anyone prepare for emergency situations.
A way to possibly help control seasonal asthma symptoms in the future is a drug specifically tested to give children relief from fall asthma triggers.
Asthma sufferers should prepare for seasonal changes in their disease this fall and make sure they are informed and ready for any increase in symptoms.
Survival Strategies for Early Fall Allergy and Asthma Symptoms
Allergy and asthma symptoms may worsen during the early fall and late summer days. The follow survival strategies will help to avoid and reduce suffering this year if you have a child with these conditions.
1. If you are traveling, going to a new school, or if your school nurse is not familiar with your son/daughter’s allergies and asthma, have an action plan ready (prepared by your child’s allergist or family doctor). This is particularly important if your child is involved in school sports and may require pre-treatment before exercise.
2. Indoor allergies may flare, particularly, at home as the bedroom is the number one allergy hotspot. Try and avoid “dust collectors” in the child’s bedroom and consider allergy protective bedding, especially if your child has indoor allergies. If you place a stuffed toy in a freezer bag for 5 hours a week it will kill house dust mites, a frequent indoor allergen responsible for allergy and asthma symptoms.
3. Some children may have food allergies that can provoke reactions such as asthma (5 percent of individuals may present with asthma or respiratory symptoms if they are sensitive to a specific food), hives, worsening allergies. Get tested and identify if your child is at risk by ingestion, contact or inhalation of a food allergen. Most likely suspects are peanuts, nuts, egg, milk among others.
4. Consider allergen friendly wood floors, tile and linoleum in lieu of carpeted floors for easier cleaning and help reduce dust mite population as well as a reservoir for pet dander. Washable window shades are easier to clean than horizontal blinds. Try non aerosol cleaning products to reduce irritant effects to those with allergies and asthma.
5. Get tested and make sure your child is not one of the 20 million individuals with allergies to pets. If so, you will need to see an allergist for an individual avoidance and treatment for pet allergies, including HEPA air filters, pet free bedrooms, medications and allergy shots to get rid of the condition.
Bottom line get tested, be prepared for an allergy free fall season for your child.