School Calendar Accurately Predicts Child Asthma Flare-Ups

February 15th 2016

Retail clinicians should use a school calendar to help pinpoint when children with asthma may present with worse symptoms.

Retail clinicians should use a school calendar to help pinpoint when children with asthma may present with worse symptoms.

Results of a recent study published in the journalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciencessuggest that children with asthma experience troubling flare-ups whenever school reopens after a break.

Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) used a computer model that jointly fit a common cold transmission model with a model of biological and environmental asthma exacerbation triggers to analyze the timing and locations of nearly 66,000 child and adult hospitalizations in Texas over the course of a 7-year study period.

The researchers determined that the spread of cold viruses, which was greatly influenced by the school schedule, was the primary driver of asthma exacerbations in children. Meanwhile, adult hospitalizations were more variable and driven primarily by influenza peaks.

“The school calendar predicts common cold transmission, and the common cold predicts asthma exacerbations,” noted senior study author Lauren Meyers, professor of integrative biology and statistics at UT Austin, in a press release. “This study provides a quantitative relationship between those things. …This work can improve public health strategies to keep asthmatic children healthy...at the riskiest times of the year.”

Understanding this pattern may help retail clinicians relay valuable information to parents and encourage patient adherence to asthma management.

Kristen Marjama, DNP, FNP-BC, education and training manager with Walmart Care Clinics in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, affirmed toContemporary Clinicthat every asthma patient needs a written asthma action plan.

Such a plan may help parents and their children feel more accountable to asthma medication regimens.

“Our goal as clinicians is to make sure that each [asthma] patient at every visit has their written asthma plan,”she explained. “Patients don’t think it’s important from a health care provider perspective, [so] the more we ask questions about it, the more they’ll realize they need it.”

Worsening asthma symptoms contribute to $50 billion in direct health care costs in the United States annually.

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