Pediatric Asthma Peak is Coming Soon

Vancouver Island – Circle September 22, 2017 on your calendar. That’s the day when asthma hospitalization rates for school-aged children will peak across Canada. This year, Island Health is hoping some common sense tips will help reduce the spread of illnesses that can cause serious asthmatic events.

According to the Asthma Canada, September is Asthma Peak Month. Approximately 25 percent of all hospital admissions for pediatric asthma – for the entire year – will occur this month. In fact, experts predict that on or around September 22, there will be a significant peak in the number of children admitted to hospital with asthma.

There are a number of factors contributing to the back-to-school surge. Over the summer, children can get out of their routine of using inhalers and sometimes, in the holiday excitement, parents may let prescriptions lapse. Once children are back in school, they are in close contact with each other and with germs like the common cold. Colds account for up to 85 percent of asthma flare-ups.

“Because we can predict this unfortunate spike in asthma-related hospital admissions, we can also take steps prevent the outbreak,” says Island Health Respirologist Dr. John Reid. “Proper hand hygiene is your child’s best defence against colds, and colds are by far the greatest trigger for asthma-related illnesses.”

Dr. Reid offers these proactive tips:

  • Make sure your child’s prescription is filled and has not expired
  • Get your child back into the routine of using his/her inhaled asthma controller medication regularly
  • Ensure children are frequently and properly practicing hand hygiene
  • Develop an Asthma Action Plan, a strategy to manage your child’s asthma when it flares, and share the plan with your child’s school

Did you know?

  • 20% of children under 9 years old have asthma
  • 85 percent of asthmatic events are triggered by the common cold in young children
  • 8 colds a year is the average for school-aged children
  • 17.7 days after Labour Day is historically the peak asthma-related hospitalization day for school-aged children
  • More than 20,000 children are hospitalized each year with asthma across Canada 

Island Health, one of six health jurisdictions in British Columbia, provides health care and support services to more than 765,000 people on Vancouver Island, the islands in the Salish Sea and the Johnstone Strait, and mainland communities north of Powell River.

With more than 20,000 staff, 1,900 physician partners, 6,000 volunteers, and the dedicated support of foundations and auxiliaries, Island Health delivers a broad range of health services, including: public health services, primary health care, home and community care, mental health and addictions services, acute care in hospitals, and much more across a huge, geographically diverse region.

Media inquiries:

Meribeth Burton