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5 Things You Should Be Aware Of If Your Child Suffers From Asthma

You suddenly feel a constriction in your throat that prompts you to halt. Despite coughing vigorously to clear your airways, the sensation persists, and within moments, it seems like you’re trying to breathe through a narrow tube. The room appears to shrink as panic sets in and your breath quickens, with a wheezing sound underscoring what you already understand — an asthma attack is looming.

It can be challenging to comprehend the experience of a child if you’ve never felt the intense desperation for air that accompanies such an attack. Here are five key points to remember if your child has asthma and ways to offer them your support during their illness. You both can navigate through this difficult situation.

1. Asthma Can Be Triggered by Various Factors

Triggers are the elements that can lead to an asthma attack and include:

  • Cigarette smoke – Exposing children to tobacco smoke can trigger asthma attacks, and even induce asthma in children who are otherwise healthy.
  • Animals – If your child is allergic to your cat, dog, bird, or other pet, it’s advisable to keep the animal out of their room and maintain a clean household. If necessary, you might have to contemplate finding a new home for your pet, despite how difficult it may be.
  • Plant pollen – Some individuals experience asthma attacks specifically due to allergies to certain types of pollen and find relief when they vacation elsewhere or relocate.
  • Dust, dust mites, or mold – These three allergens are common triggers for asthma. Keeping your home clean, eradicating mold, and using an air filter could be beneficial. Ensure your child’s bedding is changed regularly and use dust-mite-proof covers on their mattress and pillows.
  • Air pollution – Pollution is a recognized asthma trigger and can contribute to the development of the condition itself. In 2020, a child’s fatal asthma attack was attributed to air pollution for the first time, according to a coroner. It’s advisable to keep your car windows closed during traffic jams, avoid traveling during peak hours, and stay indoors during periods of poor air quality.
  • Physical activity – Exercising can be a trigger for some individuals. Consult your doctor for guidance on how your child can exercise in such cases.
  • Respiratory infections – Certain viral and bacterial infections can trigger the onset of asthma and provoke attacks.

Asthma is a serious obstructive lung condition that causes closure of the airways, but with proper management, you and your child can cope with it. Identifying triggers is a crucial aspect of treatment.

2. Consult a Physician

If you haven’t already, take your child to a doctor who can diagnose their asthma. They can recommend treatments to help control the condition. Medications for asthma generally fall into two categories: rescue medications and long-term control medications.

Rescue medications, such as inhalers, nebulizers, or epi-pens, are used to treat severe allergic reactions that may trigger asthma in some individuals. These treatments are administered during an asthma attack.

Long-term control medications are typically prescribed for daily use to help manage the condition on a regular basis.

3. Take the Condition Seriously

When your child complains about difficulty breathing, never dismiss their concerns as being melodramatic. Even a mild asthma attack can cause breathing difficulties and be frightening for them.

Take immediate action by administering rescue medication or seeking help. If left untreated, an attack could lead to unconsciousness, permanent brain damage, or even death.

4. Rescue Medications Are Effective Only When On Hand

Always keep rescue medications like your child’s inhaler or epi-pen nearby. Depending on their age, you may need to store these medications in your bag, your child’s backpack, or both. When the need arises, it’s crucial to locate them quickly and effortlessly.

Request additional inhalers or epi-pens so you can have them available in multiple locations. Regularly check their expiration dates to ensure they are still effective.

5. Educate Your Child’s Educators

Your child may feel embarrassed about having asthma. Some children choose not to disclose their health issues at school in an attempt to blend in.

Nonetheless, it is vital to inform the school staff, particularly the nurse and physical education teacher, about your child’s condition. If an asthma attack occurs during physical education class or while they are in regular lessons, their teacher can assist them if they are aware of the situation.

Moreover, empower your child to take care of themselves during an asthma attack. Whether it involves leaving class to use their inhaler or refraining from participating in physical activities, they need to understand that they have the right and encouragement to do so. Clarify that during a health emergency, the rules concerning permission to leave class, take a break, or speak up can be overlooked.

Collaborate to Effectively Manage Your Child’s Asthma

One of the critical aspects to remember if your child has asthma is that while it is not curable, it can be managed effectively. Team up to address it efficiently.

In some cases, avoiding triggers may prevent symptoms from recurring. However, severe instances might necessitate ongoing medication or lifestyle adjustments, such as regulating exercise intensity. Consult with your doctor to establish a long-term asthma management plan for your child.

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