Health Team

Springtime allergies can trigger asthma attacks in children

Posted April 11, 2012

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— While most people welcome spring after winter, allergy sufferers often dread the sneezing, congestion and watery, itchy eyes that come when everything's in bloom. For children with allergies who also suffer from asthma, the spring season can be life-threatening.

But with the right medications and proper medical monitoring, children can stay on playgrounds with their friends without inviting an asthma attack.

Ajah Hodge, 12, loves to play outdoors, but asthma requires her to take extra steps during pollen season.

She tests her airways daily with a peak flow meter, takes medication and uses her asthma inhaler.

"It's really been a whole life experience for me," Ajah said.

About a month ago, despite all the precautions she takes, Ajah had a surprise asthma attack during an outdoor gym class.

"(I was) feeling like my chest was just tightening up. I was about to pass out," she said. 

She was rushed to WakeMed for emergency care.

asthma and allergies Springtime allergies can trigger asthma attacks in children

Pediatrician Dr. Karen Chilton said asthma attacks are most common in the spring and fall, when tree pollen is in the air.

"We see lots of kids with asthma year-round, but typically fall through spring," Chilton said.

She added that children who suffer from both allergies and asthma may benefit from daily allergy medications, such as cetirizine.

"If they're needing to use their rescue inhaler, their albuterol, more than twice a week or so, then they may benefit from a daily medicine," Chilton said.

Ajah takes cetirizine pills twice a day during pollen seasons. Combined with her asthma medications, she doesn't have to miss out on playing outdoors.

"I don't want to be the kid who can't play or do anything because she has asthma," Ajah said.


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  • whatelseisnew Apr 19, 2012

    Guess we should plow under all fields and cut down all trees. It is not fair that people with asthma should be made to suffer like this.

    "Another major reason why we need to protect our school nurses."

    Nope, the treatment of their children is the responsibility of the parents, not the taxpayer.

  • gopack10 Apr 16, 2012

    Another major reason why we need to protect our school nurses. This can come on anytime, without warning. The best thing you can do is to identify early warning signs and intervene appropriately and quickly. Kids spend a lot of time at school and require peak flow monitoring and inhalers while there. Closer monitoring during peak times of the year is also very important. Kids with asthma and allergies should be able to live normal lives and do all of the things that kids without these conditions enjoy, but they must be taught how to manage their condition and be closely monitored until they are mature enough to do it independently.

  • annchris Apr 12, 2012

    Pollen, dust and animals are just triggers for allergies, but not the cause of them. It took me over 30 years to learn this, and once I learned what was causing them I was able to stop them - permanently- and without medication. I am now medication free, side effect free, allergy and asthma free after applying the Breathing Normalization method. It's 100% natural, safe for children and adults, and doesn't involve making any weird home remedy concoction. I was skeptical at first (as I was always the give me a pill to take so I can feel better and get back to my day type of person) but surprisingly it worked. If you suffer everyday with allergies or asthma just look into it - Breathing Normalization - it really changed my life.