Does your child have asthma? If so, you may wonder how you can help your son or daughter avoid an asthma attack. At Aluna, we want to equip parents with the knowledge necessary to help their children manage their condition.
If you aren’t sure whether your child has severe respiratory issues, we suggest you seek consultation from your family doctor.
What Do You Need to Know About Managing Child Asthma?
Managing your child’s asthma can be difficult, but daily monitoring, in addition to regular visits to a pediatrician, can make things easier. Paying close attention to changes in symptoms and breathing patterns can also prevent problems.
Tracking Your Child’s Air Flow Rate
Tracking the airflow rate is critical to managing asthma. The simple problem of asthma is an inability to breathe, so tracking the airflow rate can keep you informed on the severity of your child’s condition. Many doctors use the following in order to monitor asthma.
1. Peak flow
A peak flow meter is a portable and hand-held device used to measure how air flows from your lungs in one "fast blast." In other words, the meter is used to measure your ability to push air out of your lungs.
Not all doctors will recommend the use of a peak flow meter as it is usually suggested in the treatment of those with severe asthma. If you have an iPhone, you can use an Aluna device to better monitor your child’s asthma efficiently.
An asthma action plan is a method of tracking signs and symptoms of your child’s asthma. By creating a written asthma action plan with your child’s doctor, you will better understand your child’s condition key in on subtle changes happening over time.
Following a written asthma action plan can help your child participate in everyday activities without experiencing asthma symptoms. It is important that as children age, the written asthma action plan is revisited and tweaked to reflect their current needs.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is a great resource that offers electronic and printable action plan templates.
The action plan should go everywhere your child goes. Keep a copy at home, and make sure to share the plan with your child’s school nurse, teachers, and anyone else who cares for them. Explain the plan to both your child and the caregivers so they will feel comfortable following it.
Which Signs and Symptoms Should You Monitor?
Whether for an adult or a child, symptoms of asthma ought to be tracked. Some action plans developed with your child’s doctor may call for you to record asthma symptoms, peak flow, or both. A written record can focus on common child symptoms such as wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and chronic cough.
Additionally, Asthma.com offers a quick online test that rates your child’s symptoms and can easily be shared with your child’s healthcare team. The importance of recording symptoms is that you are able to track your child’s condition and ultimately monitor to see if it is getting worse over time.
How Do You Soothe an Asthma Cough?
If your child has asthma, chances are your child has been given quick-relief medication as well. If your child is experiencing an asthma cough and you are looking to soothe it, begin by administering the quick-relief medication. If this does not soothe the cough, we suggest consulting with your family doctor.
Additionally, you can record how often your child uses their control medications when tracking symptoms. Control medications work better to treat asthma when used regularly, and long term usage helps prevent regular asthma attacks.
When Should You Seek Emergency Care?
It is important to be a detective. When you are monitoring your child’s symptoms and see they are dropping into the yellow (cautionary) or red (danger) zone, look back at their asthma diary and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I see any patterns that might explain symptoms or drops in peak flow?
- Did my child miss a round of medication?
- Could my child have been exposed to triggers that I was unaware of?
- Did my child have symptoms following exercise?
Any information you find will be worth sharing with your family doctor to assess your child’s condition and craft a plan for future management.
Further, Kid’s Health urges parents to visit a doctor immediately, go to the ER, or call an ambulance if...
- Your child has constant wheezing.
- Your child uses quick-relief medicines repeatedly for severe flare-up symptoms that do not go away after 15–20 minutes.
- There are changes in your child's color, like blue or gray lips and fingernails.
- Your child has a lasting cough that does not respond to inhaled quick-relief medicine.
- Your child has trouble talking and cannot speak in full sentences.
- The areas below the ribs, between the ribs, and in the neck visibly pull in during inhalation (called retractions).
Many children have to visit the emergency room simply because they did not have their quick-relief medicines handy. While following a written asthma action plan can alert you of irregularities in your child’s condition, there is always a chance that your child may have an asthma attack unexpectedly.
Having their rescue medication readily available to provide quick relief is critical. In order to control asthma, your child should have access to their medicine at all times, including at school, at sporting events, and while traveling.
Ultimately, you cannot prevent or eliminate your child’s asthma. But, through daily monitoring and regular communication with your child’s doctor, you can certainly manage asthma.