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Asthma Health Center

Asthma Treatments for Children

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How Is Asthma Treated In Children?

Based on your child's history and the severity of asthma, his or her doctor will develop a care plan, called an "asthma action plan." The asthma action plan describes when and how your child should use asthma medications, what to do when asthma gets worse, and when to seek emergency care for your child. Make sure you understand this plan and ask your child's doctor any questions you may have.

Your child's asthma action plan is important to successfully controlling his or her asthma. Keep it handy to remind you of your child's daily asthma management plan, as well as to guide you when your child develops asthma symptoms.

In addition to following your child's asthma action plan, you want to make sure exposure to asthma triggers is limited, and preferably avoided.

What Asthma Drugs Can Children Take?

If an infant or child is experiencing symptoms of asthma that require treatment with a bronchodilator medication more than twice a week during the day or more than twice a month at night, most doctors recommend daily anti-inflammatory drugs.

Most asthma medications that are given to adults and older children can also safely be prescribed to toddlers and younger children. Drugs that are approved for younger children are given in doses adjusted for their age and weight.  In the case of inhaled drugs, a different delivery device based on the child's age and ability may be required. (Many children aren't able to coordinate their breathing well enough to use a standard inhaler.)

How Do I Give my Child Asthma Medication?

You may give your child asthma medications using a home nebulizer, also known as a breathing machine. A nebulizer delivers asthma drugs, usually bronchodilators, by changing them from a liquid to a mist. Your child gets the drug by breathing it in through a facemask. These breathing treatments usually take about 10-15 minutes and are given up to several times a day. Your child's doctor will tell you how often to give your child breathing treatments, based on the severity of his or her asthma.

Your child may be able to use a metered dose inhaler (MDI) with a spacer. A spacer is a chamber that attaches to the MDI and holds the burst of medication. Talk with your child's doctor to see if an MDI with spacer is right for your child.

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