Asthma in Children - Living With Asthma
Avoid upper respiratory infections
Upper respiratory infections, including the common cold, cause 85 out of 100 asthma attacks in
young children.11 Basic preventive measures include the
- Avoid contact with other people who are ill.
If there is an ill child in the home, separate him or her from other children,
- If you have a
respiratory infection, such as a cold or the flu, or if you are caring for
someone with a respiratory infection, wash your hands before and after caring for this person.
- Do not smoke. Secondhand smoke irritates the mucous
membranes in your child's nose, sinuses, and lungs and increases his or her
risk for respiratory infections.
- Children who have asthma and their family members should get an influenza vaccine (flu shot(What is a PDF document?) or nasal spray vaccine(What is a PDF document?)) every year.
Help your child take medicine
Taking medicines is an
important part of asthma treatment. But it can be hard to remember to take them. To help you
and your child remember, understand the reasons people don't take their asthma
medicines. And then find
ways to overcome those obstacles, such as taping notes
on the bathroom mirror.
Most medicines for asthma are inhaled.
With inhaled medicines, a specific dose of the medicine can be given directly
to the bronchial tubes, avoiding or reducing the effects of the medicine on
the rest of the body.
Delivery systems for inhaled medicines include
metered-dose and dry powder
nebulizers. A metered-dose inhaler (MDI) is usually used by older children, and nebulizers are used most often with infants. For more information, see Medications.
- Asthma: Using a Metered-Dose Inhaler
- Asthma in Children: Helping a Child Use a Metered-Dose Inhaler and Mask Spacer
- Asthma: Using a Dry Powder Inhaler
More tips for managing your child's asthma
manage your child's asthma:
- Stay with a daily routine. Make treatment part of
normal, daily activities to help your child adjust to the condition and take
responsibility for managing treatment. Your child could, for example, get used
to taking medicine before brushing his or her teeth.
- Check your child's symptoms. If your child is old
enough to understand the process, teach him or her what symptoms to watch for
and how to check the peak expiratory flow. Help your child understand how to
follow his or her asthma action plan.
- Inform others in your child's life about asthma. Inform the principal, school nurse, teachers, and coaches
at your child's school that your child has asthma. Give the staff a copy of
your child's asthma action plan so that they can help your child to take his or
her medicine and will know what to do during an asthma attack. Encourage your
child to participate in exercise and sports. Asthma, when well controlled,
should not prevent your child from participating in sports and other physical
It is important to treat your child's asthma
attacks quickly. If your child does not improve soon after treating an attack,
talk with a doctor.
- During attacks, stay calm and soothe your
child. This may help your child relax and breathe more
- Don't underestimate or overestimate how severe your child's
asthma is. It is often hard to know how much breathing difficulty a baby or
small child is having. Seek medical care early for babies and small children
who have asthma symptoms.