Being a parent of a child with asthma can be very challenging. It can be very frustrating to deal with the symptoms of the illness, such as coughing and frequent absences from school. In 2016, around six million kids were living with an asthma diagnosis. In 2017, over half of those with asthma reported experiencing at least one attack.
Although asthma is a chronic illness, it can be managed by reducing exposure to allergens and irritants. This can help minimize the symptoms of the illness and prevent attacks. Asthma is very manageable and should not prevent your child from enjoying their daily activities. These are some helpful tips for parents trying to help their children manage asthma symptoms.
SEE THE DOCTOR REGULARLY
Getting a prescription for medication can help children manage their asthma. Your child’s doctor will then develop a treatment plan that will be reviewed at each visit. After a patient’s first appointment, their doctor will ask them to return for follow-up visits, usually to check on them every three months, six months, or a year. Doctors also suggest that parents schedule a new appointment if their child’s symptoms don’t improve to consider further treatment options.
KEEP RECORDS OF SYMPTOMS
It’s essential to come to every appointment prepared to discuss your child’s progress. This will help the doctor develop a more effective treatment plan. Since your child’s doctor only gets to see them at appointments, they rely on your account of your child’s symptoms to determine the best treatment plan.
Your child’s history will help the doctor identify the triggers that lead to the onset of symptoms. Try to keep a log of wheezing episodes, any asthma-related medical visits, history of medications and treatments, how often they use an inhaler, etc. This information will help provide a complete picture of your child’s experience and guide their doctor to select the most effective treatment.
ESTABLISH AN ASTHMA PLAN
Your child’s doctor can help develop a written plan that addresses the various aspects of managing asthma symptoms and possible emergencies. This will help the family work together to make the most of their time together without constantly worrying about possible asthma symptoms.
A good written plan should include details about monitoring the child’s asthma and how to manage their medication. It should also address their triggers and symptoms and when to see the doctor. Being prepared ahead of time will help reduce anxiety and ensure a quick, effective response in an emergency.
FOCUS ON CONTROLLING SYMPTOMS
Instead of focusing on immediate problems, visualize your child’s goal as being able to maintain their health instead of constantly reacting to crises. For instance, if your child has persistent symptoms, this could mean that they need a new treatment plan. Asthma should be manageable, so if your current control strategies aren’t working, it’s time for a change.
TEACH YOUR CHILD TO MANAGE THEIR OWN TREATMENTS
Depending on the type of asthma treatment you choose, your child may need to learn how to use different devices to maximize their effectiveness. Inhalers, nebulizers, and peak flow meters are all common tools used by asthma patients. To help your child learn to be independent and recognize their own symptoms, teach them how to use these tools themselves as appropriate for their developmental level. Whatever treatment type your child is prescribed, try to work it into their daily routine. This makes it easier for everyone to remember and helps it become a habit.
Although rescue inhalers can help temporarily, they are not always the best long-term solution. Instead, preventive medicine can help manage symptoms and prevent them from occurring as often. However, they don’t provide the immediate symptom relief that many patients are used to with inhalers. If your child is prescribed a preventative medication, talk to your pediatrician about expectations for results. No immediate change doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t working! Be patient as you develop an effective plan for your child’s treatment and communicate openly and often with their doctor.
Originally published at DrColinKnight.com