About 6 million children under the age of 18 suffer from asthma in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While asthma is a condition that you can keep under control, it can also be deadly. Asthma is responsible for nine deaths each day, and there’s no cure in sight. But life with asthma doesn’t have to be scary for you or your child. There are ways to manage your child’s condition and reduce the risk of an attack.
Understanding asthma and asthma attacks
Asthma is a chronic disease that affects the lungs and airways. The most common types of asthma are exercise-induced asthma, allergic asthma, and nocturnal asthma.
Those who suffer from asthma often have inflamed bronchial tubes, making them very sensitive to outside triggers such as pollution, pet dander, noxious fumes, and many other substances.
Symptoms of asthma usually include wheezing or whistling when breathing, coughing (especially during early mornings or at night), chest tightness, and shortness of breath. When these symptoms become severe and breathing becomes more difficult, it is a sign of an asthma attack.
Things you can do to keep asthma under control
You can help your child deal with their asthma and minimize attacks by understanding the disease and making a few lifestyle changes.
Know the triggers
If your child has asthma, the first thing you should do is identify what triggers their attacks. Everyone has different triggers, so you need to know what your child’s are so you can help your child avoid them. Be aware of lung irritants like secondhand smoke, perfumes, and other odors that can trigger an attack.
Invest in a HEPA filter
If your child has allergic asthma, you may want to invest in a HEPA filter. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters trap irritants as they filter the air in your home. These filters can be a bit pricey, so if you are on a budget, another option would be certain houseplants that are known to purify the air.
Keep the house clean
Keep a clean household and be careful of which cleaning products you use. Stay on top of your cleaning so your house is as dust- and mold-free as possible. You may also want to think about switching to chemical-free cleaning products because harsh chemicals can irritate your child’s lungs and airways.
Eat healthy and exercise (with caution)
Maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level benefits you child’s overall health, but it’s especially crucial for those who suffer from chronic conditions like asthma. Being overweight or not getting enough exercise can worsen your child’s symptoms and attacks.
Also, avoid feeding your asthmatic child dairy food, which is mucus-producing and can trigger attacks. Be aware of how certain foods affect them and focus more on home-cooked meals so you can avoid the ingredients that trigger your child’s attacks.
Make an action plan
Create an asthma action plan for your child and familiarize family, friends, and teachers with it. Doing so ensures that everyone in your child’s life knows which medications are needed and how to identify an oncoming attack. This plan should include ensuring your child ALWAYS has their inhaler on hand.
Your specialist awaits
If you have a child who suffers from asthma, you need a specialist who will be there for them. At First Pediatric Care Center, Margaret Lubega, MD, and her team of trusted specialists are here for your child and the rest of your family.
From infants to young adults, we provide a full range of pediatric services including same-day sick visits. Patient care and long-term relationships are our No. 1 priority. If you are looking for an experienced and honest specialist to take care of your family’s needs, make your appointment today by calling or booking online.