As parents and children prepare for the 2023-2024 school year, here are a few things to keep in mind so your child will be safe and healthy all year long.

Brace for Asthma Peak Week

Did you know that the third week of September is referred to as "Asthma Peak Week?" It is when annually we see the highest increase in asthma episodes and hospital visits. During this period, it's important to keep a close eye on your child's symptoms and follow the steps in their Asthma Action Plan.

If your child doesn't have an asthma action plan yet, now is the best time to work with your healthcare provider to establish one. The American Lung Association provides a template Asthma Action Plan that can be completed with your child’s healthcare provider and used to help assess symptoms and respond as symptoms start.

Asthma, Allergies and Vaccinations 

If your child suffers from seasonal allergies—a common asthma trigger—consider beginning allergy medication before the fall allergy season starts. Allergy medicine can take some time to build up in your system, so starting it early can help avoid asthma flare-ups caused by common triggers such as pets, dust, pollens and molds.

Similarly, respiratory infections such as the common cold and flu can trigger and sometimes worsen asthma symptoms. During the school year, kids are exposed to more infectious respiratory diseases. Frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick and wearing a mask could help children avoid exposure to respiratory droplets on surfaces and in the air. Make sure your child is up to date on their recommended vaccinations to help protect against infectious respiratory diseases. These vaccines include COVID-19, DTaP or Tdap, pneumococcal pneumonia and an annual influenza vaccination. Your healthcare provider can guide you about the right timing for your child's vaccinations.

Partner with Your Child's School

It is important to ensure that your child's school is fully aware of their asthma diagnosis and is prepared to handle potential asthma emergencies. Every school has a protocol for such situations, and as a parent, you should be familiar with it.

The American Lung Association’s Asthma in Schools: The Basics for Parents provides key information about working with your child's school and managing your child's asthma during the school year. The free Asthma Basics online course is also a good starting point to learn more about asthma.

To make your back-to-school preparations even smoother, the American Lung Association has compiled a handy Back-to-School Checklist. This list can guide you through everything you need to address before your child heads back to school.

While asthma is a condition that your child will live with throughout their life, it is manageable with careful planning, preparation and teamwork. The upcoming school year can be a positive and healthy experience for your child when you have the right plans in place. With the American Lung Association supporting you, remember that you're not alone on this journey.

Here's to a safe and enjoyable 2023-2024 school year!

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