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Millions of families do everything they can to keep their children’s asthma under control. Learning how to keep asthma in check helps children feel better and miss fewer school days. They have a better chance to enjoy a normal, activities during the day and better sleep at night.
Here are ways you can help your child control their asthma.
One key to good asthma control is fending off your child’s triggers. Triggers are things that may set off asthma symptoms or make them worse. They vary from child to child. Common triggers include:
Work with your child’s doctor to find these triggers. Talk about ways to handle them. Try these strategies for some of the most common triggers found at home.
Another key to success is making sure your child takes asthma medication as directed. Some of these medicines provide quick relief when your child has a flare-up. Others help prevent the onset of symptoms.
Asthma medication helps reduce coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest, and shortness of breath. Talk with your child’s doctor about when and how to give it. If your child has an inhaler, ask the doctor to show you and your child how to use it correctly.
Medicines can change chemically over time. They can stop working or even become unsafe. The start of a new year is a good time to check expiration dates on your child’s medication. Follow label instructions to properly dispose of any medications that are out of date.
Controlling asthma triggers is an ongoing job. Follow your child’s treatment plan, even when your child is symptom-free. Otherwise, they might come back.
Anxiety and stress can make asthma symptoms worse. Teach your child how to self-soothe with these simple tips:
Let your child know you’re available to talk about problems and worries. Start a conversation by sharing a thought or feeling of your own rather than asking a question first. If your child shares something in return, listen closely.
Children feel like they have more control when they help manage their asthma. Talk with your child’s doctor about how much responsibility your child is ready to handle. Children as young as three may be able to use an inhaler with adult help. Some school-aged children may be ready to carry an inhaler and use it as needed. Children can also gradually become more involved in ways to manage their asthma triggers.
Originally published 6/9/2016; Revised 2023
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