Ask the Allergist: Asthma and Stress at School
Q: When I’m stressed at school, my asthma tends to flare up. What can I do to reduce my stress level?
Wesley Sublett, MD: There is good research that psychological stress plays a role with asthma. It can make asthma more difficult to control and increase the likelihood of asthma flares. And it can also increase the duration and severity of symptoms.
It’s important to identify stressors that may be playing a role with your asthma. It could be your amount of schoolwork, bullying at school or through social media, or feeling different from your peers. It could be that you’re simply stressed about controlling your asthma at school.
Or it could be a personal issue, such as conflict with a family member or friend, or the death of a loved one.
In addition to working with a board-certified allergist to make sure your asthma is well controlled, you may want to reach out to a mental health specialist or social worker to figure out stressors and how to manage them so they don’t affect your asthma – and your daily life.
Consider what is going on in your life and if stress is playing a part in it. Keep a record of stressful situations or experiences to see if there’s a pattern, and then work with your allergist to modify your Asthma Action Plan.
Wesley Sublett, MD, is a board-certified allergist and immunologist for Family Allergy and Asthma in Louisville, Kentucky and a fellow with the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.
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