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It happens every year, like clockwork.
On a morning – just like this morning – I will wake up, rub the sleep from my eyes, and swallow. And I will have a tickle at the back of my throat. Later that day, my nose will twitch; my eyes will water. I will understand that the misery of seasonal allergies is upon me, and I will resign myself to weeks (maybe months) of discontent.
It’s a September thing.
Canadians invest $9.1 billion annually in janitorial and sanitation supplies to clean surfaces, remove odours and kill germs with touch-free hand sanitizers – all of which address an issue that does not kill the key contributor to illness from air transmission. And even with all these products, if your child has asthma, there’s a 1 in 4 chance he or she will be heading to hospital in September. Every year, up to 25% of the annual hospital admissions for asthma flare-ups among Canadian children occur in September.
Why? It’s simple – and complicated. With the new school year, so comes some of the most frequent asthma triggers: germs, low use of appropriate asthma medications over the summer months increasing vulnerability, and unventilated classrooms that may contain dust, mould spores and more.
Although I thought allergies were my biggest concern, I’m actually writing this post on the heels of a very disturbing phone call I received from Reid’s school, just this afternoon.
“Mrs. Almeida, we’re concerned Reid has been coughing a lot today, bordering on wheezing.”
“Oh!” I replied. “Well, he was sick recently…”
“Is he asthmatic?” she asked.
“Noooo….” I answered.
And now, of course, I’m wondering if he is. It’s Reid’s first time in a group environment, so naturally he is exposed to germs, allergens and a whole grab bag of potential triggers that I simply did not have to worry about before. I know that most asthma exacerbations are caused from the air we breathe, and the dirty truth is that inside air can be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air. And, we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors. …