The September Epidemic and What Can Be Done

There is an epidemic related to asthmatics that is known as “the September Epidemic.”

Clinical studies show that 25% of hospitalizations for asthma peak 17 days after Labor Day. The reason for this has been linked directly with children returning to school. People are put in an enclosed, climate-controlled space and exposed to more allergens and viruses than they have been all summer. Schools are places where there is more mold, dust mites, cockroaches, mice, and are considered, for some, places of high stress. In addition, there is an increase of viral infections during this time of year, especially rhinovirus which causes colds.

Most people suffer from asthma because it is their bodies response to allergens. Asthma is defined as a chronic inflammatory disease with such symptoms as shortness of breath, chest tightness, airflow obstruction, bronchospasm, coughing, and wheezing. It has been identified as the most common chronic disease in children.

Typically asthma is treated in a similar fashion to allergies with the primary goal being to suppress the immune system. By so doing, the body is not able to handle any colds and flus that are going around and, typically, more days are lost to school and work as the person gets sick more often.

Steroid inhalers are a treatment of choice by conventional medicine. These  work to suppress the immune system and, in a very short time, can cause thrush which is a yeast infection in the mouth that is uncomfortable and can make it difficult to eat.

Ongoing use of steroids can also cause a decrease in cortisol secretion. Cortisol is a hormone and by suppressing it, symptoms may include low blood pressure, low stomach acid (which, ironically, is associated as another one of the causes of asthma), fatigue, low sodium which might lead to salt cravings, and hypothyroidism.

While you can not avoid the end of summer and having to go back to school or work, as the case may be. Allergies and asthma are actually the result of a body having an over-active immune system. There are some things that may be done to help calm the immune system and reduce and even eliminate this problem:

  1. Remove foods that your body is sensitive to.


There is testing that can be done to help you identify what foods these may be but, more often than not, a major contributor to allergies and asthma is dairy. Dairy is found in milk, cheese, butter (ghee is okay since the solids have been removed), and yogurt. Note that nut “milk,” rice “milk,” soy”milk,” etc. are not dairy products and are safe to consume if you do not have allergies or sensitivities to these.  You do not have to go through testing to find out your sensitivities. A food elimination diet with re-introduction is the gold standard for helping identify the problem foods.


  1. Increase stomach acid.

Eighty percent of asthmatics have a condition called hypochlorhydria. That is the fancy name for low stomach acid which is the same condition that causes GERD and heartburn.

The wheezing that many asthmatics have has actually been associated with low vitamin B12. B12 comes from animal protein which is broken down to its simplest form in the stomach by stomach acid.

Hypochlorhydria is actually very simple to reverse. Put 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in about 1 ounce of water and consume that mid-meal.  Hydrochloric betaine with pepsin comes in capsules may also be used mid-meal to increase stomach acid if the apple cider vinegar is intolerable.

  1. Supplementation

There are many supplements that can help increase the chemicals that are needed to calm the immune system and reverse asthma and allergies such as magnesium (one of the top mineral deficiencies in the United States and available in capsule or powder), quercetin with bromelain, omega-3’s, Boswellia, Butterbur, Stinging Nettle and probiotics which specifically have Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Saccharomyces boulardii.


These are just a few tips and tricks to help eliminate asthma and allergies and avoid the September Epidemic.  If you are looking for more support, work with a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, such as Missy at Just Breathe, to help guide you on specifics to implement these and other methods.

Using a salt room, just as the one at Just Breathe, reduces the inflammation in the bronchioles and has been shown to increase stomach acid.

 2007 Sep;120(3):526-9. Epub 2007 Jul 20. Understanding the September asthma epidemic.