boy with inhaler

Laughing & Playing with Asthma

Asthma is the most common chronic condition in children and is estimated to affect more than 6.1 million children in the United States.1   This is a condition that causes inflammation of the airways.   Asthma requires ongoing physician monitoring, evaluation, and decisions on whether changes in treatment are needed or improvement in the condition has occurred.

It is important to recognize asthma symptoms, which may include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, tightening of the chest or rapid shallow breathing.

Asthma triggers may cause the airway inflammation to get worse and lead to an asthma attack. You may be able to help your child avoid these triggers. Triggers may include:

  • Environmental factors, such as pollen or dust
  • Weather conditions
  • Irritants, such as tobacco smoke or pollutants
  • Specific types of exercise
  • Infections
  • Experiencing strong emotions or stress

You want to be able to take quick action when symptoms appear. Work with your child’s doctor to develop a treatment plan (asthma action plan) that includes:

  • A list of medications to take for asthma (if applicable);
  • Instructions regarding how to monitor your child’s asthma (peak flow or symptoms); and
  • Instructions regarding what changes in treatment should result from changes in peak flow readings and/or symptoms.

It is also important to know your child’s asthma medications.  Some asthma medications are taken every day to control the inflammation that can cause an asthma attack. Other medications relieve symptoms and are to be taken only when your child has asthma symptoms.  Talk with your child’s doctor or pharmacist so you are sure which medicines are for long-term control and which are for quick relief.

Manage your child’s asthma with these tips:

  • Form a partnership with your child’s doctor to discuss your child’s asthma treatment goals.
  • Learn your child’s asthma triggers and try to avoid them.
  • Learn how to monitor your child’s asthma based on symptoms or with a peak flow meter.
  • Ask your doctor to complete a written asthma action plan and review it during every visit.
  • See your child’s doctor as directed because asthma control can vary.
  • Review medications with your child’s doctor at each visit and be sure you know when they should be taken.

Managing your child’s asthma may help prevent emergency room visits and/or missed days from school. Controlling your child’s asthma may also allow him or her to enjoy usual daytime activities and sleep well at night.

 

This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have received advice from your child’s doctor contrary to the above information, follow your child’s doctor’s advice. Please see your child’s doctor if you feel your child’s asthma is not being well-controlled.

 

References:
1http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/learn-about-asthma/asthma-children-facts-sheet.html 
http://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/asthma/learn-about-asthma/what-is-asthma.html