As school begins, holiday is over from asthma, allergy medications

SAN ANTONIO (Aug 10, 2010) — As the first day of school draws near, start ramping up the administration of your child’s asthma and allergy medications and be sure to refill prescriptions or seek new ones, an asthma and immunology specialist from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio advises.

Edward Brooks, M.D., Professor of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine, says medications that control chronic asthma are often neglected during the summer because children feel better. Although there are no overt symptoms, young people may be experiencing a decline in lung function, he warns.

“If you’ve taken a holiday from regular medications, get back on them,” he says. “When school starts, we see a lot of respiratory viruses and a fair number of hospitalizations. Fall is the worst time for asthma.”

San Antonio’s school districts have an asthma action plan that is standardized across campuses. This initiative, which has drawn praise from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calls for school nurses to have a pediatrician’s instructions on hand for both regular treatment of asthma and in the event of an emergency. Parents are urged to see their pediatricians and file an asthma action plan with their child’s school.

Allergies also come into bloom with the school year. If children have severe allergies known as anaphylaxis, it is recommended that the school nurse have an up-to-date EpiPen® on hand. This device, also known by other trade names, injects epinephrine to stop life-threatening allergic responses to insect stings, food, medications and other sources. “If your child needs this prescription and doesn’t have one, be sure to get it now,” Dr. Brooks says.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled a record $259 million in fiscal year 2009. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $739 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit

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