Asthma In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Asthma is long-term inflammation and narrowing of the airways in your child's lungs. This causes less air flow to his lungs and makes it hard for your child to breathe.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Inhaled short-acting bronchodilators: These are given to help open your child's airways quickly. They start to work right away and are used to relieve sudden, severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing. These medicines may be called relievers or rescue inhalers.
- Steroids: These help decrease swelling and open your child's airways to help him breathe easier. They may be given as a pill or an inhaler. After an asthma attack, your child may need steroid pills for several days. Inhaled steroids are used for long-term control.
- Combination inhalers: These include a long-acting bronchodilator and a steroid. They can help open the airways over time, and are used to decrease and prevent breathing problems. They are only used when your child's asthma is not controlled with other medicines. They are not helpful during an asthma attack.
- Leukotriene inhibitors: These can decrease the swelling in your child's lungs. They may help reduce your child's wheezing or shortness of breath. They may also help shorten your child's asthma attacks. They are used for long-term control of asthma. They are not used to treat an asthma attack.
- Mast cell stabilizers: These help decrease inflammation and prevent your child's airways from becoming too narrow. They can be used regularly to decrease the number of asthma attacks. They can also be used right before your child is exposed to a trigger. They are not used once an asthma attack has started.
- Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's primary healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.
- Metered dose inhaler: This is a small, tube-shaped device. Your child holds the open end inside his mouth. The medicine comes out as a mist when he presses a switch. Your child should breathe in deeply to get the right amount of medicine. He may use a spacer with this inhaler. A spacer is a large tube that holds the mist before your child breathes it in.
- Nebulizer: A long tube goes from the machine to a small round container that holds asthma medicine. The liquid turns into a mist once the machine is turned on. Your child breathes in this mist through a mouthpiece.
- Dry powder inhaler: This is a small tube or disc-shaped device that contains powder asthma medicine. Your child holds the open end inside his mouth. The powder is released when he presses a switch. With this type of inhaler, your child must breathe in hard to suck in the powder.
Make an asthma action plan:
This is a set of instructions to follow when your child has an asthma attack. Work with your child's primary healthcare provider to develop an asthma action plan. List any medicines your child takes and how much or how often he takes them. Also list his triggers. Write down his signs and symptoms and what to do if he has an attack. List emergency phone numbers. Update the plan when he has an asthma attack and write down what may have triggered it. The plan should explain when to seek immediate care for your child or call 911.
Follow up with your child's primary healthcare provider in 1 to 2 days:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.
Prevent your child from having an asthma attack:
- Avoid triggers.
- Follow your child's asthma action plan.
- Try to avoid people who are sick and stay up-to-date on your child's vaccines.
- Use air conditioning to control the temperature and humidity in your house.
- Keep pets out of your home. If you have cockroaches or other pests in your home, get rid of them quickly.
- Remove old carpets, fabric-covered furniture, drapes, and furry toys in your house. Use hypoallergenic covers for your mattresses and pillows.
For support and more information:
- American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology
555 E. Wells St, Suite 1100
Milwaukee , WI 53202-3823
Phone: 1- 800 - 822-2762
Web Address: http://www.aaaai.org
- National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
National Asthma Education and Prevention Program
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda , MD 20824-0105
Phone: 1- 301 - 592-8573
Web Address: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/about/naepp/
Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:
- Your child coughs or wheezes more than usual.
- Your child's medicines do not relieve his symptoms as well as they used to.
- Your child's symptoms keep him from doing activities he enjoys.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child has wheezing or shortness of breath that does not get better with treatment.
- Your child faints or does not respond.
- Your child has severe chest pain.
- Your child's lips or fingernails turn gray or blue.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.