It's never a comfortable feeling, when you think that your child might be struggling with a condition. It can be especially unnerving if they seem to be struggling to breathe! We understand, and we're here to help you through what to do next.
First, Ask Yourself a Few Questions
Do you have a family history of asthma or allergies? Let your child’s doctor know if anyone in your family has asthma or allergies, including hay fever, hives, or eczema. If you have a family history of asthma or allergies, you may be referred to an allergist. Children who have frequent respiratory infections, or who cough after running or crying, should prompt you to talk to their doctor about asthma screening. Does your child wheeze or emit a high-pitched whistling sound, cough at night, or become short of breath? Does your child clear her or his throat a lot for no clear reason? All can be asthma symptoms in children. But it can be very hard to spot asthma in young children. So kids aren’t usually diagnosed until age 2. When kids are 5 and older, doctors can diagnose and monitor asthma with the same tests used for adults. These tests measure how much air your child can quickly exhale, an important sign of how well the lungs are working.
When your child has asthma, it is a chronic condition that is always there, even when things are going fine. Symptoms can flare up at any time. Yet there is a lot you can do to reduce the chance of this happening. By following a personalized Asthma Action Plan, most children with asthma can do all the enjoyable things they want to do with few, if any, symptoms.
Triggers can set off a child’s asthma symptoms.
They cause the lungs to overreact, and can vary from person to person. But triggers are typically allergens (such as dust mites or pollen) and can also be viruses, exercise, cigarette smoke or strong fragrances. Step away from the scented candles! Some other common triggers, such as pets, are year-round issues. Others, such as cold weather, are a particular problem in winter. Identifying your child’s triggers and managing exposure to them helps prevent asthma flare-ups.
Your child’s doctor is your partner in helping to diagnose and treat your child with asthma. Keep in mind that when it comes to treating asthma, the same basic treatments are used for both kids and adults. However, your health care provider will consider your child’s age, weight and abilities when developing a treatment plan.
Treatment that fits
Proper treatment can make a big difference in your child’s life. At home, your child may sleep better when symptoms are under control. At school, your child may miss fewer days due to asthma. And on the playground or sports field, your child may have greater stamina and be more willing to join in the fun.
Your doctor can make a treatment plan to fit your child’s needs. Keep in mind that regular follow-up visits are needed to make sure your child doesn’t outgrow his or her treatment.
To learn more about Asthma and the Taking on Asthma initiative, visit our website!
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