Asthma In Children
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
Asthma is a disease of the lungs that makes breathing difficult for your child. Chronic inflammation and intense reactions to triggers make the lung airways become smaller. Allergies, lung infections as a baby, or a family history of asthma can increase your child's risk of asthma.
AFTER YOU LEAVE:
- Medicines decrease inflammation, open airways, and make breathing easier. Your child may need medicine that works quickly during an attack, or that works over time to prevent attacks. Asthma medicine may be inhaled, taken as a pill, or injected. Make sure your child knows how to use an inhaler.
- Give your child's medicines as directed. Contact your child's primary healthcare provider (PHP) if you think the medicine is not working, or your child has side effects. 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.
Follow up with your child's PHP as directed:
Your child will need to return to make sure the medicine is working and that his symptoms are being controlled. Your child may be referred to an asthma specialist. You may be asked to keep a record or your child's peak flow values and symptoms. Bring this record to your follow-up appointments. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them.
Manage your child's asthma:
- Follow the Asthma Action Plan (AAP) that your child received from his PHP. The AAP explains which medicines your child needs and when to change doses if necessary. It also explains how you and your child can monitor symptoms and use a peak flow meter. The meter measures how well air moves in and out of your child's lungs.
- Give the AAP to your child's care providers. The AAP gives directions for what to do in case of an asthma attack.
- Identify and avoid known triggers. Keep your home free of pets, dust mites, and mold.
- Explain the dangers of smoking to your child. Tobacco smoke increases your child's risk for asthma attacks. Keep your child away from secondhand smoke.
- Manage your child's other health conditions , such as allergies, obesity, and acid reflux.
- Ask about vaccines. Your child may need a yearly flu shot. The flu can make your child's asthma worse.
Contact your child's PHP if:
- Your child runs out of medicine before his next scheduled refill.
- Your child needs more medicine than usual to control his symptoms.
- Your child struggles to do his usual activities because of his symptoms.
- Your child's symptoms get worse, or he wakes up at night more often than usual.
- You have questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.
Seek care immediately or call 911 if:
- Your child's peak flow numbers are lower than he was told they should be (in his AAP Red Zone).
- Your child has trouble talking or walking because of shortness of breath.
- Your child's shortness of breath is so severe that he cannot sleep or do his usual activities.
- Your child's shortness of breath is the same or worse even after he takes medicine.
- Your child's lips or nails are blue or gray.
- The skin of your child's neck and ribcage pull in with each breath.
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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.