Childhood Asthma – 5 Things Every Parent Should Know About Childhood Asthma

The American Lung Association states that asthma is the leading serious chronic illness of children in the U.S. In 2006, an estimated 6.8 million children under age 18 (almost 1.2 million under age 5) currently have asthma. If your child has asthma you have watched your child’s anxiety and physical discomfort enough to know first hand how frightening, and disruptive asthma can be. Here are 5 things to make living with asthma easier for your child and you.

Monitor Breathing–Ask your physician about a peak flow meter. These meters come in sizes for both children and adults, and will allow you to measure your child’s ability to push air from their lungs. Peak flow meters are portable, and inexpensive, and many physicians have found them to be a valuable tool in gathering up-to-the-minute information on what medications should be increased or decreased, and overall how well your child’s asthma is being managed.

Control Asthma–The American Lung Association website gives you an opportunity to take an asthma control test to help you assess how well your child’s asthma is controlled. Sharing the results of this test with your child’s physician will give a very accurate and detailed description of your child’s symptoms and their frequency. This information is crucial if the physician is to prescribe an effective regimen for your child. Once your child’s asthma is controlled, you will notice fewer symptoms, less disruption because of attacks, and the ability to participate in most physical activities and sports.

Partner with Your Child’s School–At the beginning of each school year, meet with the teacher, teachers’ aides, principal, guidance counselor, resource team (art, music, library, technology, and physical education instructors), and coaches to make them aware of your child’s asthma, and share a plan of action that you and your physician have developed. Ask your child’s teacher to make a note of the plan in her substitute plans as well. Make everyone aware of steps they should follow, or allow your child to follow to lessen discomfort, and/or prevent an attack. Be sure to update the plan of action at school if and when it changes.

Remove Airborne Asthma Triggers–Most asthma is aggravated by asthma triggers such as pollen, dander, mold, mildew, dust mites and other microscopic particulates. Dust mites live in bedding, carpet, and stuffed toys. Mold and mildew make their homes where there is moisture-the bathroom, kitchen, and basement. Normal daily activity causes these allergens that may have settled to become airborne thus potentially triggering an attack. Using an air purifier that is designed to remove these sub-micron sized pollutants will eliminate allergens

Maintain a Positive Attitude–It is all too easy to get discouraged when setbacks occur, or worry about when the next bad thing might happen. Modeling a positive attitude for your child is one of the best ways to help your child learn to live with asthma. Developing a plan, being consistent in following the plan prescribed by your doctor, being encouraging and helping your child stay emotionally positive will go a long way toward helping your child live a normal, happy life.

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