5 Tips for Managing Your Child’s Asthma
Controlling your child’s asthma means you need to partner with their pediatrician. Here are 5 tips for developing an asthma action plan.
Your child is all set for their soccer practice, when their asthma flares. Or maybe they’re snuggled in their bed when they wake from a sudden flare and reach for their rescue medication. Whether it happens during play or at rest, it’s so hard for you to see your child coughing and struggling to breathe or speak.
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These frightening symptoms of childhood asthma can be well-controlled, but learning how to best partner with your pediatrician may require time, patience and a lot of good communication. Pediatric pulmonologist John Carl, MD, offers these tips to help your child’s doctor develop an effective asthma action plan.
The best way to develop an effective treatment plan for your child is to come to appointments prepared to talk about your child’s progress, saysDr. Carl. The best way to do this is to keep a detailed account of what’s been happening with your child’s asthma.
Things to note:
“Exposure to tobacco smoke before and after birth is a risk factor for childhood asthma,” says Dr. Carl. In addition to second-hand smoke, Dr. Carl says you should look carefully around your home for anything that could trigger asthma symptoms, including:
Having a rescue medication on hand is vital. But if you’re giving your child their medication as prescribed and it’s not working, you need to be ready. Document if your child experiences any of the following:
If your child requires multiple courses of oral steroids, it’s time to talk to your doctor about developing a new preventive treatment plan. Dr. Carl says it’s time for a new plan if:
Preventive — or “controller” — medicines do not immediately relieve symptoms in the same way that rescue inhalers do, but will help if used consistently over the long-term.
Dr. Carl urges parents to make sure their pediatrician fully explains what to expect from each medication so they don’t grow impatient and frustrated if results aren’t immediate. “Good communication with your pediatrician is essential for achieving optimal asthma care,” he says.