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Millions of families are working to keep their children’s asthma under control. Controlling asthma helps your child feel better and miss fewer school days. By controlling asthma, your child may enjoy a more normal, active life by day, and your child may sleep much better at night.
Manage asthma triggers
One key to good asthma control is managing your child’s triggers. These are things that may set off asthma symptoms or make them worse. Triggers vary from child to child. Common triggers include:
Work with your child’s doctor to find your child’s triggers. Talk about ways to handle them. For example:
Use asthma medication
Another key to success is making sure your child takes asthma medication as directed. Some asthma medications provide quick relief when your child has a flare-up. Others help keep symptoms from ever starting.
Asthma medication helps reduce coughing, wheezing, chest tightness 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.
Reminder: Check expiration dates
Medication may change chemically over time. It could 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 Follow label instructions to dispose of outdated medication properly.
Keep up the good work
Controlling asthma triggers is an ongoing job. Keep following your child’s treatment plan, even when your child is symptom-free. Otherwise, the symptoms might come back.
Deal with emotional triggers
Anxiety and stress may make asthma symptoms worse. Teach your child how to soothe such feelings. Share these tips:
Being there for your child
Let your child know you’re available to talk about problems and concerns. To start a conversation, share a thought or feeling of your own rather than asking a question first. If your child shares something in return, listen very closely.
Raise an asthma-wise child
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 take. Children as young as 3 may be able to use an inhaler with adult supervision. Some school-aged children may be ready to carry an inhaler and use it as needed. Children may also gradually become more involved in managing their asthma triggers.
To learn more about Asthma and the Taking on Asthma initiative, visit our website.
Originally published: June 9, 2016
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