5 Useful Tips to Help Manage Your Child’s Asthma
Childhood asthma is one of the most common lung conditions in the UK, and affects 1 million children a year. However, with the right treatment plan, it’s very possible and simple to control your child’s symptoms, so that they can do all the things they enjoy. Here, we discuss five practical steps you can take at home to manage your child’s condition.
1. Know the symptoms of asthma
It can often be hard to tell the difference between childhood asthma and common respiratory conditions such as a chest cold or a heavy cough. Common signs to look out for include:
- Coughing which becomes worse at night or when your child is sick
- Wheezing when breathing
- Being short of breath or getting tired when playing
It’s sometimes even harder with toddlers, who aren’t always able to tell you what they’re feeling. If you’ve noticed they’re having difficulty sleeping, experiencing breathlessness or taking a long time to get over coughs and colds, then it’s a good idea to get them checked by a doctor.
2. Get a plan
Dealing with asthma can seem daunting at first, especially if you don’t know what to expect. Once your child has been diagnosed, your doctor can put together an asthma care plan. This will include simple instructions on taking medications and what to do if your child’s asthma flares up. A clearly written plan for you and your child’s caregivers (such as their nursery or school) can help everyone feel more secure.
3. Know your medications
Knowledge is hugely empowering. Understanding your child’s medications will help you keep on track and avoid the temptation to skip doses. You can manage your child’s symptoms and dramatically reduce their risk of having an asthma attack by making sure they take their medications every day, as prescribed.
Most children are prescribed two types of ‘puffers’ or inhalers – relievers and preventers. A reliever (such as salbutamol) is used to treat symptoms as soon as they appear, or to relieve shortness of breath if they are having an actual attack. Preventative medications, such as corticosteroids, are used on a daily basis, and help keep your child’s airways clear, and ease any inflammation or sensitivity.
4. Understand your child’s inhaler
Children often find it difficult to use their daily inhaler correctly and their medicine ends up mainly in their mouth, rather than their lungs. Specialists recommend using a spacer – a long plastic tube attached to the mouthpiece of the inhaler. This will help make sure your child gets the right dose of medication.
5. Identify any triggers for your child’s asthma
Traffic and air pollution, hayfever, colds and common allergens - such as cat hair - can trigger a flare up. It’s good to know what your child’s particular triggers are, and follow your care plan for guidance on what to do if your child’s symptoms have worsened.
You can also make a few adjustments to avoid your child’s triggers: for example, try to keep your house free of dust if your child has allergen-related asthma symptoms, or if they have hayfever, use an antihistamine or nasal steroid spray during the pollen season.
Visiting our clinic
If your child is experiencing asthma symptoms and you would like to see a specialist, or find out more about treatments, please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.