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Holiday Asthma Triggers for Kids

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Asthma Triggers: Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire continued...

“Fireplaces and stoves and things that leak smoke are things that increase the asthma response,” says Honsinger. “It’s not a true allergy--you can’t test for smoke allergies on the skin--but we know that particulate matter or burning material in the air causes an increase in asthma symptoms.”

Particulate matter can also mean exhaust and cigarette smoke, explains Honsinger. So  before you set off to visit grandma who still smokes two packs a day, remember to pack your child’s medicine – and be prepared to head home early if asthma symptoms  flare up.

Asthma Triggers: Baby It’s Cold Outside

When the snow falls and the temperature drops, your child will be eager to go outside and play. But don’t forget that cold air is a known asthma trigger.

“We know that breathing cold, dry air will increase asthma symptoms,” says Honsinger. “It excites the receptors in the lung causing asthma to come on quickly.”

Cold air dries the lungs out, and makes the chest tighten, explains Honsinger. Warm, moist air, however, is just what a kid with asthma needs.

“During cold weather have your child wear a scarf when he’s outside,” says Honsinger. ”They breath through the cloth and it catches moisture. Then they breath back in through it and it warms the air and makes the air moist. Then they’re less likely to get that feeling of tightness.”

To be on the safe side, if your child is playing outside, monitor her peak flow every hour or so. 

“Use a peak flow meter so you can see how fast your child’s air is coming out,” says Honsinger. “Use a set of guidelines that you set up with your physician, so if the peak flow drops below a certain level, use medicine. If it drops further, you better seek help. It’s something to watch.”

Be Ready for Any Asthma Trigger

Don’t forget that your pediatrician’s office and your local pharmacy may have an irregular schedule over the holidays. Make sure you are ready, in case your child has asthma symptoms..

“If your child has asthma, have your medicine supply intact over the holidays when everything closes down,” says Honsinger. “If your child uses an inhaler or a nebulizer, make sure you have these on hand, so if asthma symptoms flare  up in the middle of Christmas, you have something at home to start treatment right away.”

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Reviewed on February 01, 2007

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