OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — The third week of September is notoriously known as “Peak Week” for asthma and allergy sufferers. Doctors say seasonal factors could be to blame for these fall flare-ups.
“[It could be caused by] a number of factors. Ragweed has been really high,” Dr. Jay Portnoy of Children’s Mercy Hospital said. “That’s a pollen that is in the air, so many people with ragweed allergies have been sick for a number of weeks now. Another thing is now that the leaves have been starting to turn, there’s a lot of mold in the air, which can trigger asthma and allergy flare-ups. Also a lot of kids have started going back to school, so they get viral infections more easily being in such close proximity to kids.”
Portnoy said during this week, the hospital can average about eight or nine admissions per day for children with asthma and related issues.
“Peak week is always the most common week when children who have asthma will have their asthma flare up. We always have more visits to the emergency room and visits to the hospital on any other week of the year,” he said.
To prevent symptoms from getting out of control, make sure both you and your child know what to do during flare-ups.
“You need to have an asthma action plan. That means you need to know what treatment to use when your symptoms are present on a daily basis and how to treat asthma when it flares up and gets a lot worse,” Portnoy said.
If you notice your child’s skin turning an unusual color, profuse sweating, nostrils flaring or muscles in their neck and stomach contracting, that could be more than just an asthma attack. Those could be signs of respiratory distress, and it may be time to call 911.