Managing your child’s asthma
If your child's asthma is well-managed, he or she should be able to do all of the things they enjoy without asthma symptoms interfering.
Your child's GP or asthma nurse prescribes medications, analyses and updates your child's written asthma action plan on a regular basis, assists you in identifying your child's triggers, and keeps track of your child's asthma throughout time. It's also important for you to play a role in how you care for your child's asthma in between appointments.
Make these 5 asthma medicine-related habits a part of your child's daily routine.
- Learn about your child's asthma medications.
Ascertain that you and anybody else caring for your child are aware of the asthma medications your child need and why they are effective. You'll be more likely to make sure your child takes his or her medications as directed if you understand how they function to protect his or her airways. Your child will most likely need to use a preventer inhaler (or other preventer medicine) every day, as well as a reliever inhaler (typically blue) when they experience asthma symptoms.
Your child's written asthma action plan serves as a helpful reminder of the medications he or she must take.
Make an appointment with your child's GP or asthma nurse if you have any questions regarding why they are taking these medicines and how they work to relieve symptoms. Alternatively, you can go to your local drugstore and ask a pharmacist about medicines without making an appointment.
- Appease any concerns you may have concerning your child's medications.
If you have any reservations about your child's asthma medications, you may be less likely to give them to him or her every day as directed. Instead of keeping your fears to yourself, it's a good idea to express them with someone who can reassure you.
- Get into a good habit with your child's preventer medicine.
If you teach your child to take his or her preventer medicine at the same time and in the same place every day, it will establish a habit and they will be less likely to forget. These pointers might be useful:
If your child needs to use his or her preventer inhaler twice a day, have them do so after brushing their teeth in the morning and evening. Don't forget to remind them to rinse their mouth after they've taken it. Sticking a sticker on your child's toothbrush or bedside lamp will help you and them remember to take their asthma medications.
It's a good idea to keep an eye on your child while they use their inhaler to be sure they're doing it correctly.
Make sure you have extra inhalers and spacers on hand in places your child frequents. If you're separated, it's a good idea to leave a spare reliever inhaler and spacer at school, grandparents' residences, and your ex-house, partner's for example.
- Take the reliever inhaler and spacer with your child. EVERYWHERE
Taking your child's relief inhaler (typically blue) and spacer with them wherever they go ensures that they have them on hand and ready to use if they experience asthma symptoms. Before you/they leave the front door, make it a habit to:
Checking to see whether you have them
Setting a phone reminder to go off right before you leave the house is a good idea.
To remind you to check, place a note on the inside of the front door or above your key hook.
'Have you got your inhaler and spacer with you?' if your child is older and going to be away from you for the day.
Some parents have told us that keeping a younger child's blue reliever inhaler and spacer in a special bag, rucksack, or lunch box decorated with their child's favourite superhero can help them remember to take it everywhere. If your child enjoys carrying the bag, it will encourage them to remember to take it everywhere.
Keep in mind that your child should only use their blue reliever inhaler if they experience asthma symptoms. It's a symptom that their asthma isn't as well controlled as it may be if they use it three or more times each week. If this occurs, take your kid to their GP or asthma nurse as soon as possible so that their asthma medications can be reviewed.
- Check your child's inhaler technique on a regular basis.
Regardless of the type(s) of inhaler and spacer your child is using, it's critical that their inhaler technique be checked on a frequent basis by their GP, asthma nurse, or pharmacist. This is because if your child uses their inhaler(s) and spacer correctly, they will get the most benefit from the drug and will be more likely to keep their asthma under control.
Even if your child has been using an inhaler for a long time, it's easy to fall into harmful habits, and a small adjustment could help. It's never a bad idea to double-check. Are you unsure? Check out our inhaler videos to discover if they require a face-to-face examination.
Things you can do in conjunction with your child's doctor or asthma nurse
Your child's written action plan can be used and shared.
Using an up-to-date written asthma action plan is one of the best strategies to manage your child's asthma and reduce the chance of an asthma attack. Your child's doctor or asthma nurse will fill it out with you so that it is unique to him or her. You can then take it to all of your child's asthma check-ups to keep track of any changes.
Using your child's asthma action plan gives you and anybody else caring for him or her peace of mind when coping with asthma symptoms. It informs you that:
- What you can do every day to help your child stay healthy
- How to recognise the signals that your child's asthma is worsening
- What should you do if your child's asthma is worsening
- If your child has an asthma attack, here's what you should do.
Why don't you:
- Stick a copy on the fridge or pin it to the household noticeboard.
- Take a picture of it and email it to your family and friends.
- Distribute copies to your school's administration, after-school club leaders, and sports coaches.
- If your child is old enough, have them take a photo of it with their phone or give them a paper copy.
Make spotting symptoms enjoyable.
You might want to consider things such as a calendar and a pack of smiley face stickers to help your youngster keep track of his or her asthma symptoms. Other parents have seen success using this approach:
- Because most young children enjoy stickers, using the calendar to recognise symptoms is a fun activity.
- Motivating - your child will realise that taking their asthma medications as directed (typically in the evening, morning, and evening) and avoiding asthma triggers allows them to have a lot of good days.
- Confidence-building – utilising a symptom calendar or diary to involve your child and teach them about their asthma is an excellent method to get them involved and teach them about their own asthma.
- Practical - you can present the calendar to your child's doctor to let them know how his or her asthma has been.
Older kids could enjoy keeping a diary of their symptoms on their phone's calendar, using emojis for good and bad days.
Consult your child's doctor or an asthma nurse on a frequent basis.
Bring your child in for an asthma check-up at least once a year, or more frequently if necessary.
Even if your child appears to be in good health, you should have them checked at least once a year because asthma symptoms can come and go, change over time, or change over the year.
An asthma review is an opportunity to discuss the following topics with your doctor or asthma nurse:
- How is your child's asthma treatment going
- If your kid requires a changed dose or type of medication (if adjustments are made, your child will need to visit their GP again in eight weeks to evaluate how their asthma symptoms are progressing), and how effectively they're using their inhaler(s) and spacer.
When should your child have an asthma review?
- Once a year — According to the standards, everyone with asthma should be evaluated at least once a year.
- If your child is experiencing asthma symptoms, schedule an appointment as soon as possible. The asthma action plan for your child will help you decide when to do this.
- At critical times of the year, such as the start of a new school year or before a vacation.
- If you have any concerns regarding your child's asthma, please let us know. If you have any concerns, trust your instincts and make an appointment for them to visit their GP or asthma nurse.
Get assistance with quitting smoking.
If you or anyone else in your family smokes, your child's asthma will be more difficult to manage, and their asthma medicine will be less effective. When your child is exposed to cigarette smoke, their asthma symptoms will worsen, putting them at danger of an asthma attack. Keep in mind:
Smoking cessation will aid your child's health. It can be difficult to keep motivated, but reminding yourself that you're helping your child stay healthy is a great approach to stay motivated. If you're thinking about quitting, talk to your doctor or a pharmacist.
By asking others not to smoke near your child, you can reduce their likelihood of developing asthma symptoms.
Talking to your youngster about the dangers of smoking might also be beneficial. When they're older, they'll be less likely to experiment with their friends if they realise that even one puff of a cigarette might cause asthma symptoms or even a possibly fatal asthma attack.
Maintain a close eye on your child's weight.
If your kid is overweight, your GP or asthma nurse can assist you in assisting them in losing weight in a healthy and appropriate manner. They may even recommend you to a dietitian for additional help. This is because studies show that children who are overweight and have a higher BMI are more likely to:
- Have asthma in the first place - between 10% and 29% of asthma cases in children are connected to obesity, according to studies.
- More asthma signs and symptoms
- Have an asthma attack that could be fatal
- To keep their asthma symptoms under control, they'll need to take extra medication.
Being overweight might also have an impact on your child's lung development and function.
Asthmatic children are more prone to develop obese, which can exacerbate their asthma symptoms.
Recognize the asthma triggers in your child.
An asthma trigger is anything that irritates your child's sensitive airways, causing their asthma to flare up. It's possible that your youngster has a number of triggers.
Cigarette smoke, colds and viruses, cold weather, and allergens such as food, pollen, home dust mites, mould, and pets are all common asthma triggers.
What can you do to assist your child in dealing with asthma triggers?
Pollution, pollen, and cold weather, for example, are all classic triggers that your child cannot avoid. However, you can prevent your child's airways from becoming overly sensitive and inflamed (and thus less likely to react to these triggers) by ensuring that they take their asthma medications as directed every day. When your children's airways are protected by their medicines, they are less likely to be affected by asthma symptoms and can focus on their favourite activities including socialising with their peers.
Some asthma causes can be avoided more easily by your child. Food allergies, pets, and cigarette smoke are just a few examples. You might be able to help your child avoid triggers if you know what causes their asthma.
Are you unsure of your child's asthma triggers? You might find the following useful:
- To help you detect any patterns, keep a symptom and activity record.
- Speak with your GP or an asthma nurse who can assist you in determining potential triggers.
Once you've identified your child's asthma triggers, making minor adjustments can help them better control their asthma.
If your child is taking his or her asthma medications as directed but still has symptoms, talk to their doctor or an asthma nurse about the best methods to treat them.
If your child is using complementary therapies, be sure they are safe.
Although complementary therapies have a lot of enticing promises on the internet and in forums, they haven't been investigated as thoroughly as traditional drugs. There isn't a whole lot of scientific evidence that they work or are even safe.
It's critical to check with your doctor or an asthma nurse before introducing a new complementary therapy to your child, and to continue giving them their current medications (unless your GP or asthma nurse advises you to do so).