Alberta Health Services is reminding parents of the September spike of asthma flare-ups about two weeks after the start of the new school year.

AHS says hospitals and emergency departments see a rise in asthma visits after the start of the school year, in fact, about 20% to 25% of yearly hospital admissions for asthma occur in September.

Asthma Director at Alberta Children's Hospital Mary Noseworthy says there are many contributing factors to the spike in asthma related hospital visits.

"It's the perfect storm, when kids are back at school in crowded classrooms, sharing drinks, breathing on each other, passing viruses back and forth," she says. "A lot of children may have had a drug holiday over the summer from their asthma medication, or may not have gone back on a high enough dose for the fall."

Noseworthy explains flu season is also a big asthma trigger, the common cold and virus accounts for 85 per cent of child asthma flare-ups.

She shares about a week after the spike, hospitals also see increasing incidents of asthma in adults, and preschoolers because school aged children come home with viruses.

AHS says it's not just germs that can cause an asthma spikes.

"It's a very characteristic season for allergy exacerbation, which can be another trigger for asthma, so kids need to know what they're allergic to, some kids have very strong mould allergies which are very common this time of year. Another thing with back to school, some kids can also have their asthma exacerbated by stress."


AHS has provided these tips on proper asthma management:


• Ensure children take their asthma medication as prescribed. Even if children aren’t displaying asthma symptoms, they should continue to take their medication to avoid inflammation in their lungs.

• Make sure children have an asthma action plan they follow.

• Know a child’s asthma triggers and how to avoid them.

• Ensure you and your child practice consistent and correct hand washing throughout the day.

• Everyone should be vaccinated against the seasonal flu, especially those with asthma.