Excellus BCBS Experts Say: Peak season for asthma attacks is approaching

Posted on July 27, 2021

If you have a child with asthma, now is the time to revisit their asthma action plan so that you are prepared for the annual increase in asthma attacks that occurs each year as kids return to the classroom. A dramatic rise in the number of asthma flare-ups occurs each year from late August through the end of September, according to an Excellus BlueCross BlueShield review of past claims data and public health records. 


“The annual spike is caused, in part, by kids being exposed to more germs once they return to school,” says Lisa Y. Harris, M.D., vice president medical affairs at Excellus BCBS. “It’s also the peak time of year for molds and pollen, which can trigger respiratory distress that can launch an asthma attack.” 


Harris advises parents to use the final weeks of summer to make sure that prescribed asthma control medications are being used as directed, and that a doctor’s note is on file with the child’s school so that a supply of those medications can be kept there in case of an emergency.


Parents should also use these last few weeks of summer to consult with their pediatrician to develop or update their child’s asthma action plan. This is a written plan that details a child’s daily asthma treatment including which medicines to take and when, and the child’s specific attack triggers. The action plan also explains how to identify when the child’s asthma symptoms are severe enough to contact the pediatrician or to take the child to urgent care or a hospital emergency room.


“All adults and schools or other sites that care for a child with asthma should have a copy of the asthma action plan and understand their responsibilities regarding the child’s care,” says Harris.


Before the start of school:


o   Check with your pediatrician to make sure that prescribed asthma medications are up to date and working, and that permissions are in place for their use at school, if needed.


o   Make sure your child takes all asthma medications as directed.


o   Alert all adults at school and elsewhere who work with your child to recognize the signs of an asthma attack.


o   Empower your child to notice and report asthma triggers and signs of a pending attack.


o   Prevent the spread of germs by encouraging proper handwashing, social distancing, and making sure that every family member is current on all recommended vaccinations, including the annual flu shot.   


For information on asthma, visit excellusbcbs.com and type “Asthma” in the search box. 


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