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September Spike - Week 38


BACK TO SCHOOL WITH ASTHMA: How to Avoid the September Spike

Every September, there’s a dramatic increase in the number of school children going to the emergency department with asthma attacks. It’s called the September Spike, sometimes known as Week 38, but whatever the name, it can spell trouble for the one in five Ontario students who live with asthma.

Cold viruses are among the most common triggers for asthma symptoms. When children are back in close contact with each other in classrooms, schoolyards and buses, the risk of infection is sky high. Combine this with the fact that many kids with asthma have changed or interrupted their regular asthma management schedule over the summer months, and you have asthma’s “perfect storm”.

Effective asthma management requires daily effort, avoiding triggers such as colds through regular and thorough handwashing  and taking controller medication as prescribed. By ensuring good asthma control, parents can protect a child with asthma throughout the year and ensure that they are able to lead full and active lives.

Resources for families


Happy girl washing hands

Happy, healthy boy with inhaler 

1. TEACH your child the ABCs of proper handwashing technique.

>Print out this handy poster

2. ENCOURAGE the proper use of prescribed inhalers.

>View our inhalation device videos

dad writes a plan on his tablet

mom and daughter call the helpline

3. ORDER OR PRINT an Individual Student Asthma Management Plan for your child. Complete the plan and share a copy with your child's teacher and/or school administrators. The plan can identify triggers, give instructions for inhaler use, and list emergency contacts.

>Download or order yours here

4. REACH OUT. If you have questions about managing your child's asthma or any other lung health issue, call The Lung Health Information Line - 1-888-344-LUNG (5864) - to speak to a Certified Respiratory Educator.

   Call Me Brave Boy cover 1

5. EMPOWER your child through our age-appropriate asthma resources:

Asthma Active is a free book of puzzles, games and information to teach children how to control their asthma and stay active. It’s a great way to learn that having asthma doesn’t mean having to sit on the sidelines. Ages 7 to 10.

>Order or print your copy

Call Me Brave Boy is a colourful 20 page picture book on childhood asthma designed to be read to a young child who has asthma. A parent or caregiver can read the story to a child while following along with the wonderful Michael Martchenko illustrations. Ages 2 to 6.

>Order or print your copy




Ryan’s Law is new Ontario legislation that came into force in 2015. It requires all school boards in the province to develop and maintain asthma policies and procedures that help protect students. Schools will also be required to allow students with asthma to carry their emergency inhalers, with permission from a parent or guardian. Learn more.


Teachers and daycare staff can do a lot to help children maintain good asthma control. Children with well-controlled asthma should be able to fully participate in activities, including sports. Learn more.