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Summer in New England is a brief but glorious time when many families experience a change in pace as schools let out and activities slow. Weeks that were once packed with classes, homework and practice are suddenly open for new activities. Whether these include summer camps, daycare, sports teams or beach days, summer days can offer new fun—and a new set of challenges for effective management of your child’s asthma.

Many people with asthma may find their symptoms worsened by triggers associated with warmer weather and summer fun. High levels of urban smog and summer pollen can trigger wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing, and can even result in hospitalization in serious cases. Other common summer triggers include wood smoke from camp fires and physical activity for people with exercise-induced asthma.

Additionally, routines that had been established during the school year to manage your child’s asthma must be modified for irregular summer schedules. This can make it more difficult to find time to help your child take controller medications. And it’s likely that summer care providers may be unfamiliar with your child’s Asthma Action Plan or medication needs.

In order to ensure that your child can live a healthy, active life with asthma in the summer, parents and care givers can take action in the following ways.

  • Find a set time to give your child his/her controller medications, so that even as schedules change, this remains a daily constant.
  • Review your child’s Asthma Action Plan (AAP) as a family, and go over the AAP with anyone that cares for your child, including grandparents and babysitters.
  • Review your child’s AAP with coaches and child care providers.
  • Create an On-the-Go pack with an emergency inhaler and AAP that your child can quickly throw into a day bag. If that’s not practical, just make sure that anyone that cares for your child has access to the emergency inhaler and knows how to administer it.

Understand what triggers your child’s asthma and pay attention to high pollen or smog days if necessary. Talk to your pediatrician about getting an updated Asthma Action Plan for warm-weather triggers, if needed.

To learn more about the ways that partners across Massachusetts will tackle asthma in the next five years, please join us for the Massachusetts Asthma Action Partnership (MAAP) Summit on July 29. At this meeting, the DPH Asthma Prevention and Control Program will unveil the Strategic Plan for Asthma in Massachusetts 2015 – 2020. You can find more information at the link:

Written By: Elisa Tedeschi

Written By:

Ted works in communications for the Division of Prevention and Wellness at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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