It’s the time of year that everyone anticipates: weekend getaways to the cottage, playing outdoors all day long, and fun family trips. But if your child suffers from asthma, keeping it under control during the summer months is necessary to ensure he or she has an active and safe summer break. Plan ahead and take precautions to reduce their risks.

If you are sending your child to camp, share their action plan with the staff. Every child should have a written action plan from their health care provider. Camp staff should have key information about your child’s asthma:

  •   Which medication is taken daily and which is for emergencies
  •   What triggers can cause their asthma symptoms
  •   Their emergency contacts

Summertime is also a time of more activity, which can lead to asthma flare-ups. Before beginning any physical activity, be sure your child warms up. Most children who have their asthma under control should not have to use a reliever puffer before being active. However, if it is needed, it should be taken 10 to 15 minutes before starting physical activity. If your child has any symptoms, he or she should stop and use a reliever puffer. Your child should only start again if all the symptoms have disappeared.

Research suggests that over the summer break many children may not manage their asthma well. Being out of their daily routine, some may even stop using their asthma medications. When they return to school, they can be at higher risk for getting colds, resulting in flare-ups. To avoid the September Spike — the third week of September when there is a sharp increase in visits to emergency departments for asthma — be sure to take all necessary precautions over the summer months.

It’s a good idea to involve children in their asthma management. They should know how to recognize the signs of worsening asthma and what to do about it. Help them take control of their asthma.