Why September is dangerous for children with asthma

CALGARY- September can be a hazard for children with asthma, prompting some to call it the ‘September spike.’

“Every September, a week after the children go back to school there is a spike in hospital admissions related to asthma,” explains Dr. Mark Anselmo, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Section Chief of Respiratory Medicines.  “We’ve already had two kids come through the ICU this week.”

The trend was first identified by McMaster University researchers in the mid 2000s, and is attributed to a combination of triggers.

“The researchers found half the children definitely had rhino virus which is a very common infection this time of year,” Anselmo says. “The other half we’re not too sure, whether it’s the changes in the climate or changes in the environmental allergens around.”

Experts say parents can help by making sure children take their asthma controller medications regularly.

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Andrea MacDonald says she’s been especially cautious this year, because her five-year-old daughter Ella is in school for the first time

“In schools they pick up the flu or a cold, and that’s alright for the average child but for as asthmatic it can send them into emergency,” Andrea explains.

The worst day of the September spike happens about 18 days after the first day of school.

For help managing your child’s asthma you can contact the Community Pediatric Service by calling (403) 943-9139 or by e-mail