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How to Best Manage Your or Your Child's Asthma: Common Questions Answered

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Asthma can be a difficult condition to manage, and it is important to know the best strategies to keep your child’s symptoms in check. Our team at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic has compiled answers to frequently asked questions about asthma and provided helpful advice on how to keep your child safe. Read on to learn more about managing your or your child’s asthma.

What are the most common signs and symptoms of asthma?

The most commonly reported signs and symptoms of asthma include:

  • wheezing
  • coughing (especially at night or during exercise)
  • chest tightness
  • shortness of breath

Other warning signs may include difficulty sleeping due to nighttime coughing or wheezing, fatigue, and anxiety due to trouble breathing, and recurrent colds with persistent coughing.

Does my child need an Asthma Action Plan?

Yes! An Asthma Action Plan is an important tool for managing asthma and keeping symptoms under control. The plan should be developed with the help of a physician who specializes in pediatric medicine. It will include instructions on what medications should be taken, when they should be taken, as well as other strategies for preventing attacks like trigger avoidance. Having this plan in place will help ensure that you have quick access to the information you need when needed most. Our pediatricians at IM&PC are always ready to help you come up with an action plan that is unique and effective for your child.

What triggers my child’s asthma?

Triggers vary from person to person but some of the most common are:

  • dust mites
  • pollen
  • pet dander
  • viral infections such as colds
  • smoke and fragrances (including perfumes)
  • physical activity
  • weather conditions like sudden temperature changes
  • indoor pollutants such as mold spores
  • certain medications
  • food allergies; and
  • stress emotions like laughter crying or anger

How do I reduce my child's exposure to asthma triggers?

There are several steps you can take to reduce exposure to potential triggers:

  • use air conditioning when possible;
  • maintain good housekeeping practices including dusting with a damp cloth weekly and ensuring humidity levels don't exceed 50%;
  • keep pets outdoors if possible;
  • try using special allergen-proof covers for mattress, pillows, blankets, stuffed animals, etc.;
  • switch disposable filters often, especially before storms arrive;
  • vacuum carpets weekly using machines with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters; and
  • make sure any wood burning stoves have screens covering them so children won't come into contact with hot surfaces that could increase their risk of an attack opening windows instead of using fans whenever possible etc.

What treatments are available for asthma?

There are several types of treatments for asthma. The most important is to identify and avoid asthma triggers, as well as other activities that can worsen the condition. If your child has mild-to-moderate persistent asthma, there are medications available that can reduce or eliminate symptoms, such as inhaled corticosteroids or long-term “controller” medicines. These controller medicines work by reducing inflammation in the airways, which helps reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. For more severe cases, an allergist may recommend injectable biologics or oral steroids to help keep the disease under control.

How can I manage my or my child's asthma at home?

It is essential for those living with asthma (or caring for someone who does) to create an environment at home that supports maintaining good health and controlling symptoms:

  • Ensure all members of the household understand triggers and know how to reduce exposure/make adjustments when necessary;
  • Develop an Asthma Action Plan tailored specifically for you or your child
  • Have quick access to a rescue inhaler, with multiple inhalers in different locations (if possible)
  • Minimize exposure to dust mites and other allergens, by cleaning regularly and using allergen-proof covers for beds
  • Control humidity levels, between 30-50%
  • Be prepared for asthma attacks. This means knowing when to use a rescue inhaler, or seeking medical attention if necessary.

Living with or caring for someone who has asthma can be challenging, but the good news is that the condition can be managed effectively with the right knowledge and resources. Educating yourself about all aspects of asthma can help ensure you are taking the best steps to keep symptoms under control and prevent future attacks.

If you have any additional questions or concerns about managing your child's asthma, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Internal Medicine & Pediatric Clinic by visiting our website or calling us at (662) 430-3375.

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