Holiday Asthma Triggers for Kids
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
“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
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.”