PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – What is the worst month of the year for asthma? We’re in it right now.

“The third week of September in the northern hemisphere basically fills our emergency departments up with children with asthma,” says Dr. David Skoner, an allergist at Allegheny General Hospital.

In part, it has to do with triggers that come with returning to school.

“When children return to school, they spread around cold viruses,” Dr Skoner explains. “The other things that happen when children go back to school is they get engaged in physical activity, and sports, and exercise is a big trigger for asthma as well.”

Also, as people come indoors, irritants such as mold, dust mites, and pet hair can worsen symptoms.

Phone calls to the doctor are not uncommon.

“When they call, they say ‘John is having problems in the school playground running and playing, and he’s up all night coughing. What can I do about it?’” says Dr. Skoner.

Unfortunately, once it starts, medicines to get through the attack are all an allergist can offer.

A better approach is to start preventive medicines now, while September is still relatively early.

Studies have shown the greatest number of hospitalizations because of asthma can be predicted.

This usually peaks 17 days after Labor Day. This year, that’s Sept. 19.

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