Asthma is a chronic lung condition. It causes the airways to become swollen and narrowed, which interferes with the passage of air in and out of the lungs. During an asthma attack, a person may cough, wheeze, or feel tightness across the chest. This makes it hard to breathe. If an attack becomes severe, the person may have to go to the hospital. If you have a child with asthma, you know how hard it is to watch your child struggle during an asthma attack.
Make a plan
If your child has asthma, you can take steps to ensure that he or she leads an active, normal life. First, work closely with your child's doctor on an asthma action plan. Your child's doctor will prescribe medications to help control asthma symptoms. The doctor will show you and your child how these medicines work and when to use them. Knowing how to use medications correctly is vital to controlling attacks. You should review the action plan at least yearly with your doctor.
The two types of medicine used to control asthma are reliever and controller medications. Reliever medications ease an asthma attack quickly by relaxing the muscles around the airways. This makes it easier to breathe. You can help prevent your child from having an attack by giving reliever medication at the first sign of symptoms.
Unlike reliever medications, controller medications are usually taken every day. Controller medications prevent airways from swelling so that attacks occur less often or not at all. Controller medicines need to be given even when your child is feeling well and having no asthma symptoms. Feeling good is actually a sign that the controller medicine is doing its job.
Many people with asthma use a peak-flow meter to measure how well air flows in and out of their lungs. This device can help keep track of variations from day to day. It can tell if airways are narrowing hours and sometimes days before your child has symptoms. A peak-flow meter can help you and your child do the following:
Decide when to increase or stop taking rescue medications
Determine if symptoms are getting better or worse
Monitor how well your asthma management plan is working
Identify things that trigger attacks
Every child responds differently to medications, so work closely with your child's doctor to find a plan that works best for your child.
The ABCs of asthma
You should learn all you can about your child's asthma and then teach your child. Every child has different asthma triggers. Learning to identify and avoid these triggers can help you and your child manage asthma symptoms.
Below is a list of asthma triggers and suggestions for how to reduce your child's exposure to them:
Tobacco smoke. Do not allow smoking in your home or anywhere around your child.
Animal dander. It's best not to have pets with fur or feathers. At the very least, keep animals out of your child's bedroom and vacuum often.
Cockroach droppings. Use traps to keep roaches out of your house. Keep food out of your child's bedroom.
Dust mites. Dust mites live in cloth or carpet. Use a dustproof cover on your child's mattress and pillow. Wash sheets and blankets once a week in hot water. Keep stuffed toys out of your child's bedroom. Remove carpets.
Mold. Clean moldy surfaces with bleach.
Pollen. Try to keep your child inside when pollen counts are high.
When buying a home, consider looking for baseboard or radiant heating to decrease mold and dust mite exposure.
Keep kids active
Although exercise can bring on asthma, it is one trigger your child shouldn't avoid. Exercise is very important for a child with asthma.
Your child can learn to monitor his or her asthma. For example, your child can learn to sit out an activity when symptoms flare up. Using an inhaler before exercising can also help keep asthma under control.
Please consult your doctor with any questions or concerns you may have regarding this condition.
Asthma QuizChildren are more likely to have asthma than are ...Asthma Quiz ►
Prednisone Oral solution
Prednisone Oral tablet
Methylprednisolone Sodium Succinate Solution for injection
Methylprednisolone Oral tablet
Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate Solution for injection
Dexamethasone Oral tablet
Formoterol Fumarate Nebulizer solution
Methylprednisolone Acetate Suspension for injection
Fluticasone Furoate Nasal spray
Hydrocortisone Topical spray
Fluticasone, Salmeterol Inhaler
Epinephrine Hydrochloride Nasal spray
Aminophylline Oral tablet
Dexamethasone Oral solution
Fluticasone Propionate Topical lotion
Hydrocortisone Rectal enema, suspension
Hydrocortisone Rectal cream
Montelukast Sodium Chewable tablet
Epinephrine Solution for injection
Levalbuterol Tartrate Pressurized inhalation, suspension
Dexamethasone Sodium Phosphate Eye ointment
Triamcinolone Acetonide Nasal spray
Dyphylline Oral tablet
Omalizumab (Hamster) Solution for injection
Montelukast Sodium Oral granules
Terbutaline Sulfate Solution for injection
Terbutaline Sulfate Oral tablet
Salmeterol Xinafoate Inhalation powder
Salmeterol, Xinafoate Inhaler
Metaproterenol Sulfate Nebulizer solution
Metaproterenol Sulfate Inhaler
Metaproterenol Sulfate Oral tablet
Levalbuterol Hydrochloride Nebulizer solution
Formoterol Fumarate Inhalation powder, capsule
Fluticasone, Salmeterol Inhalation powder
Epinephrine Hydrochloride Solution for injection
Epinephrine Hydrochloride Inhalation vapour, solution
Ephedrine Sulfate Solution for injection
Albuterol Sulfate Nebulizer solution
Albuterol Sulfate Oral syrup
Zafirlukast Oral tablet
Montelukast Sodium Oral tablet
Nedocromil Sodium Eye drops, solution
Nedocromil Sodium Inhaler
Cromolyn Sodium Nasal spray, solution
Cromolyn Sodium Eye drops, solution
Cromolyn Sodium Nebulizer solution
Cromolyn Sodium Inhaler
Cromolyn Sodium Oral solution
Prednisolone Sodium Phosphate Oral solution
Prednisolone Oral tablet
Flunisolide Nasal spray
Cortisone Acetate Oral tablet
Budesonide Nebulizer suspension
Budesonide Inhalation powder
Budesonide Oral capsule, gastro-resistant pellets
Beclomethasone Dipropionate Nasal spray
Triamcinolone Acetonide Inhaler
Triamcinolone Acetonide Dental paste
Triamcinolone Oral tablet
Hydrocortisone Acetate Rectal suppository
Hydrocortisone Acetate Rectal foam
Hydrocortisone Sodium Succinate Solution for injection
Hydrocortisone Oral tablet
Fluticasone Propionate Nasal spray
Fluticasone Propionate Inhalation powder
Fluticasone Propionate Inhaler
Betamethasone Valerate Topical foam
Betamethasone Acetate, Betamethasone Sodium Phosphate Suspension for injection
Betamethasone Oral syrup