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Asthma In Children, Ambulatory Care

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. If your child's asthma is not managed, his symptoms may become chronic or life-threatening.

Normal vs Asthmatic Bronchioles

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Peak flow numbers are lower than your child was told they should be (in his AAP Red Zone)
  • Trouble talking or walking because of shortness of breath
  • Shortness of breath so severe that your child cannot sleep or do his usual activities
  • Shortness of breath is the same or worse even after your child takes medicine
  • Blue or gray lips or nails
  • Skin on your child's neck and ribcage pull in with each breath

Treatment for asthma

may include any of the following:

  • 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. Make sure your child knows how to use an inhaler. Follow up with your child's healthcare provider to make sure your child continues to use the inhaler correctly.
  • Allergy testing may reveal allergies that trigger an asthma attack. Your child may need allergy shots or medicine to control allergies that make his asthma worse.

Manage your child's asthma:

  • Follow your child's Asthma Action Plan (AAP). 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 triggers such as pets, dust mites, and mold.
  • Explain the dangers of smoking to your child. Tobacco smoke increases your child's risk for asthma attacks. Keep him away from secondhand smoke.
  • Manage your child's other health conditions. Allergies, obesity, and acid reflux can make asthma worse.
  • Ask about vaccines. Your child may need a yearly flu shot. The flu can make your child's asthma worse.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

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.

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