More frequent asthma attacks in children at the start of the school year? that’s why

More frequent asthma attacks in children at the start of the school year?  that's why

In previous years, the start of the school year was marked by a peak in asthma attacks among children under 15. Occurring within two weeks, this phenomenon has its origin in the community and the cessation of treatment according to experts. Our advice to avoid the crisis.

In September, the children reunite with their friends, their classroom… and sometimes, unfortunately, their asthma attacks. The phenomenon is more common than you might imagine: in 2022, Santé Publique Europe reported a 169% increase in emergency room visits for asthma attacks and more than 33% in hospitalizations compared to the last week. of August. Calls to SOS Médecin meanwhile showed an increase of 82%!

A boom in cases at each start of the school year

Asthma is an inflammatory disease of the bronchi which affects only 10% of school children. It results in episodes of respiratory discomfort caused by allergens (mites, moulds, pollens, animal hair, etc.), respiratory infections, or respiratory irritants, such as smoke or pollution.

In September, asthma is much more present than at other times of the year. And parents should take this into account.

Community and treatment pause in question

But why does this return of cases relate to such a narrow window of 2 weeks after the start of the school year? Questioned by our colleagues from L’Express, Dr. Françoise Pariente Ichou, head of the Gregory Pariente Foundation, evokes a period when several parameters intersect:

  • In September, the child must mix again with his classmates. He is therefore more exposed to viruses which can lead to respiratory infections favoring the onset of new crises;
  • Exposure to allergens at school and college should also be noted: the apartments contain allergenic particles (house dust mites, moulds) which stick to children’s clothes;
  • Back to school is also synonymous with strong emotions that can exacerbate respiratory crises;
  • Finally, going on vacation is often a time when the whole family sometimes stops the background treatment for asthma, which is less present in summer. Santé publique Europe mentions the role played by the discontinuation of disease-modifying treatment.

Avoid the asthma attack and react

Knowing these different parameters, it remains possible to avoid the crisis according to the expert. It is therefore recommended, as much as possible, not to leave your clothes in contact with other clothes in schools, and not to share the same coat rack.

It is also advisable not to stop your basic treatment during the holidays, and to keep taking it regularly: “If the treatment of the asthma attack quickly relieves the symptoms (dilates the bronchi and improves breathing), it has a short-term effect, which is why the background treatment prevents the onset of attacks” stated Health Insurance in an information point dedicated to asthma last June. Even without symptoms of the disease, it is better not to stop your asthma treatment or that of your child during the summer without medical advice.

Small gestures such as ventilating your home and washing your hands regularly can also reduce exposure to allergens.

Finally, parents of asthmatic children are invited to be extra vigilant at the start of the school year: whistling in the chest, chest tightness, nocturnal awakening, more frequent use of an inhaler should lead you to consult. If the crisis does not pass, parents should not hesitate to call the emergency services on 15.