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Asthma in Children - Living With Asthma

You can limit the impact asthma has on your child's life by learning about asthma and learning how you can help your child follow his or her treatment plan.

Learn about asthma and see your doctor

  • Educate yourself and your child about asthmaEducate yourself. This questionnaire can help you and your child see what you already know about asthma and what you may need to discuss with your doctor.
  • See your child's doctor regularly to monitor asthma. The frequency of checkups depends on how your child's asthma is classified. Bring the asthma plan to each appointment.
  • Set goals that relate to your child's quality of life. Decide together what you want to be able to do. Have symptom-free nights? Be able to play soccer? Feel secure in knowing you both can deal with an asthma attack? Work with your doctor to make sure your child's goals are realistic and your child knows how to reach them.

Follow your child's action plan

  • The asthma action plan helps you minimize the long-term effects of asthma and describes which medicines to take every day. The action plan also contains the steps to handle asthma attacks at home. See an example of an asthma action plan(What is a PDF document?). Your child also may have an asthma diary, in which you or your child records peak expiratory flows, symptoms, and triggers of asthma attacks. This valuable tool can help your doctor manage your child's asthma.
  • Understand your child's barriers and solutions. What may prevent your child from following his or her plan? These may be physical barriers, such as living far from your doctor or pharmacy. Or your child may have emotional barriers, such as having undiscussed fears about the condition or unrealistic expectations. Talk with the doctor about your child's barriers, and work to find solutions.
actionset.gif Asthma: Taking Charge of Your Asthma
actionset.gif Asthma: Using an Asthma Action Plan

Monitor peak expiratory flow

It is easy to underestimate the severity of asthma. Measuring peak expiratory flow (PEF) is a way to keep track of asthma symptoms at home and to know when your child's lung function is getting worse before it drops to a dangerously low level.

actionset.gif Asthma: Measuring Peak Flow

Know your child's asthma triggers

A trigger is anything that can lead to an asthma attack. If your child can avoid triggers, he or she may reduce the chance of having an asthma attack.

actionset.gif Asthma: Identifying Your Triggers

Control allergens

Your child may be allergic to certain substances (allergens). You may reduce your child's asthma symptoms by limiting exposure to those substances.

It also may be necessary to avoid exposure to other types of triggers that cause asthma symptoms.

  • Have your child avoid foods that may cause asthma symptoms. Some children have symptoms after eating processed potatoes, shrimp, or dried fruit. These foods and liquids contain sulfites, which may cause asthma symptoms.
  • If pain relief medicines such as ibuprofen seem to cause asthma symptoms or make them worse, use acetaminophen (such as Tylenol) for pain relief. (Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than 20 because of the risk of Reye syndrome.)
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 14, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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