Back-to-School Means More Asthma Attacks

In the early fall when kids go back to school, more than six times as many asthmatic children in elementary school are admitted to the hospital compared with during the summer, studies by U.S. and Canadian researchers found. Reasons for the increase in severe asthma attacks in schoolchildren are almost entirely environmental:

  • Lots of kids in small, indoor spaces, passing around viruses
  • Indoor air pollution, such as mold, allergens from class pets, air fresheners, etc.
  • Fumes from cleaning products used in the building and classroom
  • Diesel exhaust from school busses

The incidence of asthma has increased dramatically since 1980, rising 250 percent! Some have linked this to the hygiene hypothesis, which suggests that overly sterile environments may affect the development of the immune system, making it more prone to allergic reactions. If your child has severe asthma, it's wise to talk to his or her teachers about what might trigger an attack (perfume, hairspray, stress) so they can try to keep these things out of the classroom or to a minimum.

USA Today September 5, 2006

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