Asthma is a breathing disorder that causes the small airways in your child's lungs to become inflamed or swollen. This makes it hard for your child to breathe.
During an asthma attack, your child may cough, wheeze and have a hard time breathing. Asthma may be diagnosed after such an attack.
Those symptoms occur with a history of long-term (chronic) cough, frequent coughing, shortness of breath during exercise, or a cough while sleeping. Call your health care provider if your child has asthma symptoms.
Your child's lungs are extra sensitive to the effects of cold, flu and cigarette smoke in the air. An asthma attack may occur when your child has a respiratory infection, colds
or other illnesses.
Asthma cannot be cured. Usually, your child can be as active as other children if medicines are given appropriately.
Asthma action plan
Your health care provider can help you create an asthma action plan to guide you in treating your child's asthma.
If your child is older than age 6, she may be taught to use a peak flow meter. Please be aware that following your child's symptoms is the most important way to evaluate your child's breathing.
The following action plan has three zones: Go (Green Zone), Caution (Yellow Zone) and Danger (Red Zone).
Asthma action plan
When to call your health care provider
Call your health care provider to schedule an appointment if your child:
If breathing does not improve and you can't call your health care provider, go to a hospital emergency room or call 911.
- had an emergency department visit or hospital stay because of asthma
- wakes up at night more than two times a month because of asthma
- uses rescue medicine more than two days a week to relieve asthma symptoms.
Common asthma triggers
There is no cure for asthma, but there are triggers that can inflame your child's airways and make the asthma worse. You can understand the triggers and learn how to avoid or control them.
These triggers include:
- animal dander
- chalk dust
- cigarette smoke and secondhand smoke
- cleaning products
- colds or influenza
- dust mites, dust, stuffed animals, carpet
- emotional upset
- foods _______________________________
- fumes, strong odors or perfumes
- ozone alert days
- pests (rodents, cockroaches)
- plants, flowers, cut grass, pollen
- sudden temperature change
- wood smoke
Common asthma medicines
There are two common types of asthma medicines:
- controllers. These help prevent your child's airway from getting inflamed. Controllers are also called anti-inflammatories.
- relievers. These help the asthma flare-ups from getting worse. Relievers are also called bronchodilators.
Talk with your health care provider about how best to help manage your child's asthma.