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Can I Stop Taking My Asthma Medicines During the Summer?

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Updated July 12, 2010

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Can I Stop Taking My Asthma Medicines During the Summer?

Asthma causes inflammation inside the lung that doesn't go away just because it's summer.

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Question: Can I Stop Taking My Asthma Medicines During the Summer?
Answer: Most people don't like taking medications, especially when they're young and otherwise healthy, as is the case for many people with asthma. So it's not surprising that many asthmatics stop taking their controller medications during the summer. After all, the weather's warm, they're less likely to get sick (viral infections such as the common cold trigger asthma), most people have less stress due to school break (stress is a common asthma trigger), and people are taking vacations and likely to forget about their daily routines (including taking their daily medications).

There are many reasons why stopping asthma medications during the summer is a bad idea. First, it's rare to have the underlying problem of asthma -- inflammation of the lungs -- go away during the summer. For most people with asthma, inflammation in the lungs is there all the time, and this needs to be treated all year long. Stopping asthma medicines during the summer leaves inflammation untreated, which could lead to complications from asthma (such as emergency room visits and hospitalizations).

Second, asthma attacks during the summer are still very possible, especially with a variety of asthma triggers around during this time of year. Grass pollen is present in high amounts during the summer, which can trigger asthma symptoms if a person is allergic to grass. Smoke from campfires or barbecues can act as an irritant in the lungs, causes asthma symptoms. Some people can even be allergic to barbecue smoke, especially if the smoke is from a wood such as mesquite, and the person is allergic to mesquite pollen. Exercise-induced asthma, as a result of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking and swimming, is also more common during the summer months.

Lastly, and probably most important, is that one of the most common times of the year for asthma attacks in kids is within the first few weeks of starting back at school -- as a result of exposure to cold and flu viruses. Therefore, it is important for asthma to be well controlled before going back to school, in order to minimize asthma symptoms when that first cold or flu of the season hits.

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Sources:

”Summer Break” Doesn’t Apply to Asthma Medicines. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. Website Accessed July 8, 2010.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this site is for educational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for personal care by a licensed physician. Please see your physician for diagnosis and treatment of any concerning symptoms or medical condition.

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