Managing Your Child’s Asthma

Asthma is a very common disease. It affects 1 in every 12 American children under the age of 18. That means roughly 6 million children in the U.S. have asthma. The disease is so common that some don’t always view the disease as the serious illness it actually is. While asthma hospitalizations have decreased in recent years, 1 out of 6 children with asthma visits the emergency department each year due to asthma symptoms. Asthma can be life threatening, and managing your child’s asthma is crucial to his health and safety.

Identifying asthma

The most common asthma symptoms are coughing, wheezing, pain or tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Asthma can make it difficult for your child to breathe and in severe cases can be life threatening. The disease can also cause permanent lung damage if left untreated, so it’s very important to diagnose and manage asthma as early as possible.

It’s not always easy to diagnose asthma. Sometimes asthma symptoms can look like other diseases. The only way to properly diagnose asthma – or any other disease – is by visiting a health professional. Visit your child’s pediatrician if you notice symptoms that could be asthma. Even if your child does not have asthma, he or she could have some other medical issue that should be addressed.

Managing asthma

If your child is diagnosed with asthma, she has it all the time, even when she doesn’t have symptoms. During an asthma attack – or asthma exacerbation – the airways swell or become inflamed, and extra mucus production clogs the airways.

Asthma attacks are what cause children to be hospitalized for asthma. There isn’t a known cure for asthma, but you can prevent asthma attacks, or lessen the severity of asthma attacks.

Reduce triggers

Identifying your child’s asthma triggers and removing those triggers can help with managing your child’s asthma.

  • Never smoke around children.
  • Pet dander, mold, and other types of indoor air pollution are common asthma triggers.
  • Pollen, cold, dry air, and outdoor air pollution may trigger asthma.
  • Asthma attacks can sometimes occur after physical activity: however, exercise is still important. Talk to your doctor for ways to manage exercise and asthma.
  • Colds, flu, or other illnesses may worsen asthma symptoms

Carry and use asthma medicine

Make sure your child uses his inhaler or asthma medicine as prescribed by the doctor. Failing to take medicine as prescribed is a common problem. According to the CDC, almost half of children who are prescribed asthma medicines do not use them regularly.

Your child’s asthma medicine should be on hand, and available wherever you go, especially during sporting events or physical activity.

Develop an asthma action plan

You can help decrease the risk for asthma attacks, but you should always be ready in the event that an asthma attack does occur. Everyone with asthma needs an asthma action plan, and this plan should be developed with your child’s doctor.

Talk to a pediatrician in Northwest Arkansas today. Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics has the best pediatricians in Arkansas. They can work with you to establish the right plan for managing your child’s asthma.