Back to school is often a time of great change for children. Plunge into the unknown, resumption of community life and return to the race for performance for some. Result these events can cause stress, anxiety, and more frequent asthma attacks in children suffering from this illness. Here are some ways to better understand it.
Big changes, viruses and pollution
Each year at the start of the school year, Santé Publique France notes a increased asthma attacks in children and adolescents in the first 2 weeks of school school. There are several reasons for these respiratory infections.
Firstly, in September, the children resume community life. They suddenly come into close contact with several people, and therefore with the germs and viruses they carry. These viruses, in particular that of the common cold, are one of the main triggers of asthma symptoms in children. For those with asthma (especially uncontrolled), this simple virus can cause dangerous symptoms, and unscheduled visits to the doctor or emergency room.
Beside that, these more frequent asthma attacks would also be reinforced by pollution and in particular that of fine particles. “The change of environment can cause the onset of asthma attacks”, explains Isabella Annesi-Maesano, research director at Inserm and epidemiologist of allergic and respiratory diseases. And if the city air can be more polluted than that of the vacation spot, ” indoor pollution has a major impact in asthmatic children ”, insists the researcher. A pollution which therefore concerns closed places (housing or school), where the child will be exposed to various allergens such as dust mites, molds or animal hair.
Back to school, a stressor
On the other hand, there is the famous “back-to-school stress” which can also cause more frequent asthma attacks. It’s normal, but how do you know when your child is too worried about going back to school? He may have for example difficulty falling asleep, be more sensitive, irritable. It can also cry more, and ask lots of questions about school, imagining catastrophic situations.
“Stress has an impact on the immune system, so in a child with asthma, it can manifest itself in seizures,” says Isabella Annesi-Maesano, epidemiologist of allergic and respiratory diseases.
Back to school & asthmatic child: what to do to prevent?
During times of great change such as the start of the new school year, it is strongly recommended that children and adolescents with asthma, assisted by their parents, be more attentive than usual to their breathing difficulties. In what way? By using their asthma control scale and contacting their doctor if they are not checked.
Some parents stop their child’s disease-modifying asthma treatment during summer vacation. In their case, it should be taken again, before the start of the school year, as soon as possible, say the specialists. It acts over time and must be taken every day, even when the child is not having a seizure.
It is also advisable to attend an “asthma school” with your child to learn how to manage the disease. These schools offer interactive and practical workshops (avoiding the onset of a seizure, knowing how to monitor your breath and use your medications correctly). It is also possible to check with the child’s school or college about their asthma policies and ensure that it has policies aimed at creating an environment free from crisis triggers.
Finally, it would be necessary support the child by helping him better understand his asthma, in particular by teaching him to use his medications correctly. Review your inhalation technique. And make sure your rescue medication is always on hand.
Fight against performance stress in children
At the start of the school year, many children suffer from what is called performance anxiety. It appears when the child is afraid of failing and being judged. He then grants himself no right to error. The child thinks that all his value comes from his academic, athletic or other success. As a result, the child has a low self-esteem and a malaise which can lead to real failures in what he undertakes. Cause the stress of the fear of failing often leads to not succeeding in what we undertake (forgetfulness, forgetfulness, etc.)
An effective solution to combat this performance stress is togive as much importance to efforts as to results. Encouragement from parents acts as a powerful engine for the child. They must show that they are there for help him, first, to verbalize how he feels. Without rushing him, we get him to confide, and we listen to him without trying to find solutions immediately. The child must feel able to share their confidences without being judged. Clinical psychologist Jean-Luc Aubert recommends that parents let the child ask questions himself, without adding or dramatizing.
Finally, parents must make the child feel that they are there to help him find strategies to reduce this stress, and promote calm. Also, if we notice that the child is stressed by his sports performance at school or his school results, it would also be beneficial toanalyze your own relationship to competition and success as a parent. Think about ways to encourage him to aim high with joy, without stressing him.
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