Back-to-school may bring your child more than new teachers and books. Researchers have noted that there is a sharp spike in asthma symptoms among children during the fall.  School classrooms and corridors often harbor mold and dust mites, as do ventilation systems.

Parents with children who are allergic to mold should find out if the school has cleaned their vents and if they use high-efficiency air filters to remove mold, pollen, and other particles from the air.

Here are some other precautionary measures you can take:

1. If your child is allergic to mold and rakes leaves during the fall, he should wear a mask to avoid inhaling mold spores.

2. Keep track of the pollen and mold count in your area by visiting the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology website.  When counts are high, children who are allergic to mold will show symptoms that include runny nose, watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes and nose, and dark circles under the eyes.

3. The AAAI recommends that parents make sure their child takes asthma or allergy medications all during the summer so that doses aren’t missed.  Skipping medications can lead to increased symptoms in the fall.

4. Develop a treatment plan with your allergist to help prevent problems. Click here to find an allergist near you. Be sure to share the treatment plan with the school’s staff and discuss with them how to handle emergencies. It is prudent for your child to keep inhalers and medicine at school to be used in an emergency or during the course of treatment.