Oct. 27, 2008 -- October, November, and December are the peak months for children's asthma care, according to a study presented today in Philadelphia at Chest 2008, a meeting held by the American College of Chest Physicians.
The researchers, who included Kristen Levine, MSPH, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, analyzed data from health insurer United Healthcare's database.
They found that October and November are the peak months for children's asthma-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations, and asthma medication use peaks in December. Summer, on the other hand, is the low season for children's asthma-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and asthma medication use.
The study doesn't explain why those seasonal trends exist, but the researchers say that "children who reduce their medications do not resume taking them until their symptoms worsen."
A better strategy might be to give kids "intermittent courses of asthma controller medications ... before fall starts, or at other times of predicted asthma outbreaks, rather than waiting until symptoms appear," the study states.
The two researchers who worked with Levine on the study are employees of the drug company Merck.