Family Magazine

5 Tips for Managing Childhood Asthma

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

Having a child recently diagnosed with asthma can be scary for parents. Knowing the right steps to take, and how to anticipate asthma attacks can ease some of the worry for you as a parent, though. Managing your child’s asthma is an ongoing process, so follow these tips to keep their flare-ups under control.

Identifying Asthma Triggers


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First, you need to identify things that trigger your child’s asthma. Things that irritate airways lead to asthma flare-up. Often, these triggers vary seasonally and as kids get older. It’s important to try to avoid these triggers as you see fit, but also unrealistic to completely avoid all of your child’s triggers.

Specific triggers include allergens like dust mites found in house dust, carpets and pillows, animal dander and saliva, pollens and grasses, molds, foods, medications, and cockroaches. Try to dust your house regularly, and wash your child’s linens frequently as to avoid dust build-up.

Other triggers include viral infections including the common cold and the flu, irritants including smoke, air fresheners, aerosols, paint fumes, hair spray, and perfumes, exercise, breathing in cold air, and weather changes. Be sure to note if any of the listed above triggers your child’s symptoms. Try to narrow it down so you know what to avoid using as far as house-hold air fresheners, and what to be prepared for that is unavoidable like cold air or the common cold. Talk to your doctor about what physical activities your child can participate in, and what to prepare for when they do, like certain medications.

Many resources are available online to manage children’s asthma, as well as a comprehensive poll to create a specific management plan for your child based on the information you provide.

Anticipating a Flare-up

The peak flow meter is used to anticipate asthma flare-ups. It measure lung inflammation. When flow measures drop it is a sign of increasing airway inflammation. In some cases it can detect a flare-up two to three days before it happens. You need to establish a baseline of a healthy measurement on the meter when your child has minimal symptoms, so you can compare it everyday.

You can always detect early warning signs of asthma flare-ups in children like wheezing and coughing. If these symptoms seem to be worsening, you may need to adjust your childs medication, before an asthma attack occurs.

The Asthma Control Test (ACT) is another common way to measure you child’s asthma symptoms over the past month. The test tracks how often your child needed to use a quick-relief inhaler, as well.

Following Medication Prescriptions

Medication adjustments are necessary as children’s symptoms change and they get older. It’s important to follow their doctor’s orders very closely, from daily medication, to knowing which inhaler to use when a flare-up occurs. There are two types of medications to treat asthma. They are rescue medications and controller medications which usually include inhaled corticosteroids for regular symptoms and quick-relief medications such as inhaled albuterol for rescue situations. Be sure to clearly mark the inhalers so you don’t use the wrong one in an emergency situation.

It’s important to treat your child’s flare-ups as soon as the occur. Also, be sure to mark the medications clearly for family members, teachers, school nurses, and other people who you trust with your child’s medication.

Recognizing and Treating an Asthma Attack

Always have an action plan ready for possible asthma attacks. Create a plan with your doctor, and then share that plan with your family members, teachers, administrators, coaches, and anyone else who spends time with your child regularly.

It’s important to speak calmly to you child during a flare-up as to try to calm them down and steady their breathing. Flare-up control plans differ between children, so make sure you have one specifically for your child once they are diagnosed. Remember not to panic during a flare-up but to act quickly to ease your child’s suffering.

Knowing When to Seek Emergency Care

With your doctor formulated action plan, follow the steps and know the signs to recognize your child’s symptoms rapidly worsening. These signs include trouble speaking, use of abdominal muscles to breathe or wide nostrils when breathing in. If you use the peak flow meter with your child, refer to your action plan to determine when low peak flow readings signal your child’s asthma attack is an emergency.

Call your child’s doctor or 911 if you see symptoms rapidly worsening. Remember, don’t panic but act promptly to alleviate your child’s asthma attack.

Become as knowledgable about the symptoms, triggers, and treatments for your child’s asthma so you’ll always feel prepared when a flare-up occurs.

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