Asthma is a chronic lung condition characterized by episodes of chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing. When flare-ups are severe, the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood can drop significantly–even to life-threatening levels. The airway narrows significantly, and mucous production increases.
Seeing your child suffer from asthma can be utterly distressing—all the more so if what they have is a severe and/or persistent case. The good news is that regardless of how long your child has been living with asthma or how severe it is, you can still manage it successfully and help your child live a good quality of life.
Here are some tips to help you successfully tackle your child’s asthma.
See an allergist.
Your child could greatly benefit from the expertise of an allergist, who will perform a thorough assessment—which includes a physical exam, a review of their health history, and allergy and pulmonary function testing—to determine their triggers and devise an effective treatment plan.
After your allergist confirms a diagnosis and identifies your child’s asthma triggers, they will prescribe any or a combination of the following types of medications depending on your child’s age:
- Biologics – to prevent inflammation of the airways
- Control inhalers (e.g., steroids)- to help prevent flare-ups
- Oral immunotherapy (allergy shots)- to change the way your child’s body responds to allergens and gradually reduce their symptoms and their need for medications
- Rescue inhalers (e.g., albuterol) – to immediately mitigate their symptoms
Make sure to strictly adhere to the treatment plan your allergist created for your child. Administer their medications as prescribed to avoid sudden and dangerous flare-ups.
Help your child avoid their triggers.
It pays to observe your child at various times of the day and during many of their home, school, and community activities. Watch out for these common asthma triggers, and learn how to avoid them:
- Emotional stress (both crying and laughing can cause wheezing, coughing and chest tightness)
- Exercise or during sports
- Temperature and weather extremes, especially winter weather and dampness
- Tobacco smoke
- Car exhaust fumes
- Allergens, such as household dust, mold, pollen, and animal dander
- The common cold or the flu
Have an asthma action plan.
You’ll need to work with your child’s allergist to create a detailed asthma action plan for your child. Your child’s asthma action plan should cover these important points:
- A list of potential triggers
- Peak flow meter readings (This is a tool to help you gauge how well your child’s lungs are functioning.)
- The types of medications your child takes, including how and when you should administer them
- Their symptoms
- When to get emergency care
It is imperative that you keep your child’s asthma plan current by reviewing it with their allergist at least every three to six months.
Effective Asthma Treatment in Northeastern Illinois
At Oak Brook Allergists, our board-certified allergists are adept at helping our patients living with asthma reduce their triggers, mitigate their symptoms, and ultimately feel their best.
To set up a consultation with one of our allergists, call us at (630) 574-0460 or request an appointment online. We have four locations at which to serve you and your family: Elmhurst, DuPage, Naperville, and Plainfield.