Child Health, News Tamar Raucher | 6 years ago

Staying Active With Asthma

If your child has asthma, you may think that means he or she can no longer be active. Fortunately, experts say that’s no longer the case.

Developing and following an asthma action plan – knowing what your child’s medications are, how to administer them, and how to monitor asthma symptoms – will help keep asthma under control. Your child’s pediatrician can help you develop an asthma action plan during a routine visit. “We try to see our patients with asthma every six months for routine asthma care – even more often if a patient is struggling,” says Meredith Pochick, MD, a pediatrician with Arboretum Pediatrics, part of Carolinas HealthCare System. “Make sure you know when your child is due for a check-up.” Each child has his or her own asthma triggers, and parents can develop a plan to help avoid them as much as possible. Common triggers for most children include weather changes, viral infections, environmental allergies, exercise and cigarette smoke. “Avoidance of these triggers can be difficult,” says Ashley Chadha, MD, with Levine Children’s Hospital’s pediatric pulmonary medicine team. “But getting a flu shot every year, taking any and all allergy meds as prescribed, premedicating with albuterol prior to scheduled activity, and avoidance of cigarette smoke can help. Encourage smoking cessation for any individuals who smoke around your child.”

Keep your home safe for your asthma sufferer with the following tips:

  • Use dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows.
  • Keep doors and windows closed during times of heavy pollen or pollution.
  • Minimize clutter in your child’s room that may bring outside irritants inside, like dirty clothes and shoes.
  • Wash your hands frequently to prevent germs from spreading.
  • If someone in your household smokes, encourage him or her to stop.
Most asthma cases can be managed by your child’s pediatrician. However, if your child continues to have coughing attacks and struggles with exercise, he or she may benefit from a visit with an allergist or a pulmonologist. Together, you and your child’s pediatrician can determine when it’s time to take this step. It takes a team to manage asthma, but with the right one, your asthma sufferer can still enjoy an active, exciting childhood.  

Dr. Chadha’s top three steps for managing asthma:

  1. Follow your asthma action plan of care. In particular, ensure your child is taking all controller medications as prescribed, and use a spacer or chamber to slow the delivery of inhaler medication.
  2. Monitor your child’s symptoms closely. Early intervention is key to avoiding a critical episode. Remember: early warning signs of asthma flares include coughing, wheezing, fatigue, decreased activity and shortness of breath.
  3. Maintain close medical follow-up with your primary care provider and specialist, as recommended.

Download The Amazings app for a fun game dedicated to helping kids recognize their asthma triggers, avoid dangerous triggers and stay vigilant about their health. Intended for children with asthma ages 7 to 12 years old, The Amazings game is based on the latest asthma research.