Asthma in Children - Overview
How is it treated?
There are two parts to treating
asthma, and they are outlined in the asthma action plan. The goals are
- Control asthma over the long term. The asthma
action plan tells you which medicine your child needs to take. It also helps
you track your child's symptoms and know how well the treatment is working.
Many children take controller medicine—usually an inhaled
corticosteroid—every day. Taking controller medicine
every day helps reduce the swelling of the airways and helps prevent
- Treat asthma attacks when they occur. The asthma action plan
tells you what to do when your child has an asthma attack. It helps you
identify triggers that can cause your child's attacks. Your child will use
quick-relief medicine, such as albuterol, during an attack.
If your child needs to use quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week, talk to your doctor. This is a sign that your child's asthma
is not controlled and can cause problems.
Asthma attacks can be
life-threatening, but you may be able to prevent them if you follow a plan.
Your doctor can teach you the skills you need to use your child's asthma action
What else can you do to help your child's asthma?
You can prevent some asthma attacks by helping your child avoid those
things that cause them. These are called triggers. A trigger can be:
- Irritants in the air, such as cigarette smoke
or other air pollution. Do not expose your child to tobacco smoke.
- Things your child is allergic to, such as pet dander, dust mites,
cockroaches, or pollen. Taking certain types of allergy medicines may help your
- Exercise. Ask your doctor about using an inhaler before
exercise if this is a trigger for your child's asthma.
- Other things
like dry, cold air; an infection; or some medicines, such as aspirin. Try not
to have your child exercise outside when it is cold and dry. Talk to your
doctor about vaccines to prevent some infections. And ask about what medicines
your child should avoid.
It can be scary when your child has an asthma attack. You
may feel helpless, but having an asthma action plan will help you know what to
do during an attack. An asthma attack may be bad enough to need urgent
medical care. But in most cases you can take care of symptoms at home if you
have a good asthma action plan.