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Thanksgiving - The “Perfect (Asthma) Storm” is here!

Published on Nov 18, 2010 with 0 comment

Ask any allergist or pediatrician.  Or, hang around the emergency room of any pediatric hospital. From Halloween until Thanksgiving, you can bet that many asthmatics, especially children, will begin to exhibit asthma symptoms or will become more symptomatic. And, many young people who have never been diagnosed with asthma will begin to cough, wheeze, or develop difficulty breathing for the first time during this time of year.

The autumn season constitutes the “perfect storm” for asthmatic individuals. Both allergenic and non-allergenic factors converge this time of year to tickle the airway. As far as allergies are concerned, fall is the time for ragweed and other weed pollens, and in some parts of the country, mold spores are abundant. A seasonal activity which is classic for eliciting asthmatic symptoms is the hay ride. Hay, itself a grass and highly allergenic, is often loaded with mold and mildew. For some children, the final destination for this exciting adventure is a visit to the doctor or the emergency room that night or the next day.

Potent non-allergic triggers also contribute to asthma flare ups in the fall. The cool, moist air can excite an already sensitive airway.  Another potential trigger is vigorous physical activity. What child does not want to spend time outdoors riding bikes or playing football during the glorious days of autumn? And, don’t forget respiratory viruses which abound this time of year. Colds and flu are among the most common triggers for asthma symptoms in children.

Being aware of asthma exposure risks this time of year may result in one’s pediatrician or allergist prescribing preventative asthma medication during, and preferably, prior to the arrival of fall. These medications are highly effective, but they must be taken daily throughout the season. All in all, seasonal asthma can be prevented in most cases and even children with known asthma can enjoy a symptom-free fall holiday season.


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