Asthma is a respiratory condition marked by spasms in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing. It usually results from an allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. Asthma is very common, it is also a serious and potentially life-threatening disease. It is important for parents to keep a rescue inhaler with them for use in emergencies even if a daily medication is not required.
The Basic Asthma Principles
The primary goal for children with asthma it to allow kids with asthma to be just like the other kids. Allow them to play soccer and keep up their peers. They should be able to sleep at night without waking up coughing. And a simple cold should not land them in the hospital. There Are Four Categories to Asthma Management…
- Monitoring and Assessment – Asthma symptoms frequently change over time. So regular visits with the healthcare provider who manages your child’s asthma are necessary. It is important to schedule visits at least every three months, more often if things are not going well.
- Education – It is crucial for parents of children with asthma to understand the disease and how it is treated. This education may be provided by the pediatrician, a respiratory therapist or an asthma educator, but it is crucial that someone does it. Parents need to know and understand how to administer medications, which inhalers to use and when to use them and how to recognize worsening symptoms.
- Controlling Environmental and Comorbid Conditions – Comorbid conditions-other conditions that tend to be found in children with asthma. Properly addressing these conditions as well as removing potential triggers from the child’s environment play a huge role in improving asthma symptoms. By making a few changes sometimes a child can go from needing one or more medications to being medication-free.
- Medication – Medication is listed last for a reason. Every treatment we provide comes with potential risks. This goes for conventional medications and alternative treatments alike. That is why environmental controls are so important. It can be financially and emotionally difficult to change your environmental setting such as replacing carpets, getting rid of stuffed animals or finding a new home for the family pet. However, by starting with the non-medication aspects for asthma we can improve symptoms and maybe do away with medication.
Always Be Honest About Your Child’s Treatment
Please when your child’s doctor asks if you are giving medications as prescribed, be honest. We know you are human. You forget. You get tired. You get busy. You lose thing. I promise you are not the only one. We as doctors are not judging you. It is best to say you forget. Try and make sure your child is using his inhaler regularly. The most common reason that asthma medications don’ t work is that children don’t actually get them.
Triggers for Asthma
- Allergens such as dust mites, pollen (from trees, grass, and weeds), mold, animal dander, or cockroaches
- Irritants such as tobacco smoke, chemicals, sprays, dust, or air pollution
- Respiratory illness such as a cold or flu
- Physical activity
- Cold air
- Strong emotions or stress
- Inspect your home for signs of mold
Activities That Kids with Asthma Should Avoid
There aren’t any. Worsened symptoms of asthma should not keep a child from participating. The goal of asthma management is to allow kids to be kids. Children with asthma should be able to keep up with other children on the playground, run track in high school and all sports to the limits of their abilities.
Asthma medication are designed to address the two basic causes of asthma symptoms: bronchoconstriction (when the small airways muscles tighten), the airway obstruction (caused by swelling of the airway walls and increased mucus production). We have come a long way in our understanding of asthma, and there is a lot of evidence surrounding effective treatments. Asthma medication plays a key role in how well you control your condition.
There are two main types of treatment, each geared toward a specific goal.
- Controller Medications – The most important medications because they prevent asthma attacks. When you use these drugs, your airways are less inflamed and less likely to react to triggers.
- Quick-Relief Medications – These medications relax the muscles around your airway. If your child has to use a rescue medication more than twice a week, his asthma isn’t well-controlled.
Does Asthma Last Forever?
One of the most common question that parent have when a child is diagnosed with asthma is whether asthma medication will be a lifelong necessity. The simple answer is that we do not know. There is no way of know if your child will outgrow his symptoms. Do children that outgrow asthma still have the disease? No one is sure. They certainly are at risk to develop symptoms again in the future, but until that enjoy living asthma-free.
If you are concerned that your child has asthma symptoms, make an appointment to discuss their symptoms with a provider.
Contact Us (859-525-8181) if you have any questions!
About Pediatrics of Florence
We believe that children are more than just “little adults.” They have unique personalities, challenges, and life circumstances and we have made every effort to make our offices and care as “kid friendly” as possible. We have an aquatic theme in the waiting rooms (separated for sick and well children) as well as themed examination rooms. All of our physicians are Board Certified Pediatricians and members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and our nurse practitioners are all licensed Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and are available to see both well and sick children.
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