How to Better Manage Your Child’s Asthma
Watching your child struggle to breathe is a heart-wrenching and frightening situation for any parent. If your child has asthma, you may even live in fear of hearing your child cough or wheeze. But there are steps you can take to prevent frequent asthma attacks, as well as efficiently treat your child’s flare-ups when they do occur. By working with your doctor and taking proactive measures, no one should have to feel isolated. Here are several tips to consider in order to better manage your child’s asthma:
Make an Appointment with Your Doctor If Flare-Ups Worsen
Caring for (and worrying about) a child who frequently suffers asthma attacks can be overwhelming. Scheduling visits with your child’s physician at least twice a year is important for monitoring symptoms. If you see a change for the worse or a lack of improvement in your child’s symptoms, consider making an appointment as soon as possible. It’s likely that there are other steps that can be taken to manage your child’s asthma, including new or different daily preventive medication, or identifying certain triggers or underlying health issues.
To communicate with your physician as effectively as possible, consider tracking your child’s symptoms in a journal. By taking notes on when their asthma attacks occur (such as after soccer practice or in windy weather), trends may become apparent and make it easier to develop the most appropriate treatment plan for your child.
Diligently Use Preventive Medications as Prescribed
Life with children can be rewarding, joyful and, well, hectic. Parents have many schedules to manage and responsibilities to fulfill. Ensuring your child receives their daily doses of long-term medications isn’t always easy. By taking preventive medications exactly as prescribed, children with asthma are much less likely to suffer a flare-up.
Establishing a daily ritual of administering medication helps avoid having to fall back on rescue inhalers and other medications as often, lessening the trauma of an asthma attack. For extra help keeping a consistent schedule, consider checking off medication administration each day on a calendar or setting a daily alarm as a reminder.
Identify Symptoms and Avoid Possible Triggers
As some parents know, a child’s asthma attack symptoms can be frighteningly severe, requiring an immediate trip to the emergency room. But many asthma attacks may first arise through symptoms that are less obvious, so it’s important to identify these subtle signs. Symptoms can include a slight cough, throat clearing or resting more than usual when active or playing. By recognizing small changes in your child’s behavior, you’re more likely to catch and treat an asthma attack before it worsens.
It’s also vital to track your asthmatic child’s potential triggers. There are many universal triggers, including allergens such as pollen, dust or pet dander. Cigarette smoke, weather changes and the common cold also can trigger asthma. Each child is different, though, so keep an eye on what seems to set off your child’s breathing difficulties and avoid that trigger in the future as much as possible.
Always Get Your Child an Annual Flu Shot
Asthma and influenza do not go well together. As many parents know, the flu can heighten the flare-ups of an asthmatic child, or even lead them to develop a more serious illness, such as pneumonia. It’s strongly recommended that your child receive the flu vaccine every year. In fact, having everyone in your family get the flu shot not only can prevent your child from experiencing worsened symptoms of asthma, but potentially keep everyone a little healthier.
Empower Your Child to Manage Their Symptoms
Babies and very young children, of course, must rely on adults for all of their asthma prevention and treatment needs. As children age, find ways to empower them in helping manage their symptoms. This could mean having them self-administer their own medications (under the observation of an adult, if needed), learn to recognize their triggers and communicate their symptoms more clearly. Encouraging children to take ownership of their asthma can lead to improved asthma control, as well as a more healthy and active lifestyle in the future.
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