This is Asthma Peak Week. It's the one week out of the year when asthma attacks and hospitalizations are typically at their highest, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
There are several reasons why the third week of September is typically the peak week, including ragweed pollen, mold, dust and respiratory infections. It's especially tough for kids with asthma because they are returning to school where there may be triggers all around. The start of cold and flu season doesn't help.
Here are some tips from the AAFA and Forbes on how to protect from asthma attacks this week:
- Wash hands often and avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid people who are sick.
- Remove shoes before going indoors to avoid tracking in pollen and mold.
- Keep doors and windows closed so allergens don't get in.
- Shower before bed.
- Use a certified asthma and allergy friendly air cleaner or filter.
- Have plenty of inhalers ready to go. Check them monthly to see how much medicine is left and if it's expired.
- Make sure your kids have spare inhalers at school, and talk to school officials so they know to be ready in case of an asthma attack.
- Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated and eat a healthy diet.
- Manage your stress level.
The AAFA says it's usually best to prepare several weeks ahead of time for peak week, so set a reminder on your calendar for next summer to talk to your doctor about how to get ready.