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Do your child’s asthma symptoms get worse when he goes back to school? Turns out there’s a scientific reason why. Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed 66,000 asthma-related hospitalizations of children older than seven. Here’s what they found:

•  When it comes to exacerbating asthma symptoms, the culprit is the spread of cold viruses—which happens more often during the school year. 

•  Extended school breaks mean kids are less likely to be exposed to other children with colds, so their immunity weakens.  Once they return to school and come into contact with viruses, their immune systems don’t work as well.

What should you do if you have a kid with asthma? Experts recommend giving him preventative medication. They also suggest schools take measures to cut down on virus transmission, like encouraging children to wash their hands before and after eating and after they use the restroom.