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Asthma Peak Week: The Perfect Storm

What is Peak Week?

  • Every third week of September is considered as “Asthma Peak Week”1
  • Anyone with asthma should take extra precaution during the month of September1
  • The ED visit rates are significantly higher in September than in other months, and physician visits are also the highest in fall1

Why does it happen?

  • Cold and flu season beginning in early autumn2
  • Ragweed pollen is released in early fall3
  • Mold counts can increase with damper weather2
  • Kids going back to school (and thus more germ exposure due to close contact with their classmates)2

What can you do?

  • Be aware of Peak Week and monitor weather/pollen counts
  • Know your triggers/symptoms
  • Review your asthma plan
  • Make sure your prescriptions are filled and inhalers are not expired
  • Keep taking medications as prescribed
  • Alert your emergency contacts
  • Wearing your mask can help with cold/viruses/pollen

Black Americans Have Worse Asthma Outcomes Than White Americans

  • Disproportionately diagnosed1,2
  • ~5x as likely to be hospitalized due to asthma3
  • ~6x as likely to visit the emergency department due to asthma4
  • ~3x as likely to die due to asthma, with the highest death rates among women2,5

What Factors Cause Asthma Disparities?

  • Economic stability and education6
  • Racism, bias, discrimination, and segregation6
  • Misperceptions, distrust, and treatment nonadherence6
  • Smoke and air pollutants6
  • Genetic influence on severity and treatment response66

How Do We Help Reduce Asthma Disparities?

  • Reform policies on insurance, healthcare, wages, housing, and environment6
  • Include Black population and racially/ethnically diverse groups among patients and researchers in clinical trials6
  • Improve patient communication and HCP education on asthma care6
  • Strengthen multistakeholder partnerships between patients, family, and HCP6

What is National Influenza Vaccination Week?

  • National Influenza Vaccination Week occurs every year in December1
  • Annual influenza or “flu” vaccine can help protect against the flu1
  • The exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary, but flu activity in North America often begins to increase in October2
  • Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May2

Who’s at risk?

  • People with certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are at higher risk of developing serious flu complications3
  • During most flu seasons, 90% of adults who are hospitalized with flu have an underlying medical condition4
  • Non-Hispanic Black, non-Hispanic American Indian or Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino persons are at increased risk of being hospitalized with flu because they are more likely to have an underlying medical condition(s)4

What can patients with asthma do?

  • Anyone with asthma is at higher risk for flu-related complications, such as pneumonia. Along with everyone else, if you have asthma, you should5:
    • wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing;
    • cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and throw the tissue away. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder not your bare hands;
    • avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth (germs are spread that way); and
    • stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care

There’s still time to get vaccinated against the flu!