Asthma has no known cure, and parents of children who struggle with asthma attacks often report feeling helpless in the face of this daunting disease. But there are things you can do to improve your little one’s condition and cut back on the frequency and severity of attacks.
Keep a Diary
An asthma diary is a simple way to track your child’s health and see progression of symptoms before they become a full-blown flare-up. Keep track of when and how often your child experiences coughing, wheezing and breathing difficulties. Get a peak flow meter and test your child regularly, then record these readings as well. Record any visits to doctors, clinics, or the ER. Finally, record medications, dosage, and how often they are taken. An asthma diary can also provide valuable information to your child’s doctors to help adjust treatment as needed.
Look for Triggers
Another thing a diary can help with is to pinpoint triggers, or exposures and circumstances which often lead to asthma symptoms. Some common triggers may include changes in the weather, pollens and molds, second-hand smoke, animal dander, exposure to infectious diseases such as the common cold or the flu, even exposure to certain cleaning chemicals or detergents. Allergy testing may also be helpful in narrowing down allergens that are causing flare-ups. Pinpointing these triggers can help your child to avoid them, which in turn can help decrease the instances of symptoms, flare-ups and attacks.
Create an Action Plan
Working with your child’s doctor, write out an action plan detailing what to do in case of an attack. This plan can then be provided to your child’s school, and any babysitters, caregivers or other family members who could be with your child when you are not. This allows everyone to be on the same page about your child’s care and treatment, and gives all caregivers a concrete plan to follow should an attack occur.
The most common tests doctors may order when your child has been diagnosed with asthma is a lung function test. The most common lung function test used for children is called a Spirometry test. Your child will breathe into a spirometer, which looks like a small tube. The device then measures how much air your child’s lungs are able to hold, as well as how fast they’re able to breathe in and out.
Another test that may be helpful is one that you take before seeing a doctor. An Asthma Control Test, which is an online questionnaire, is available for anyone who chooses to take it. The test allows you to grade your child’s symptoms from the comfort of home, where you’re not on the spot and able to easily discuss episodes with your child and other family members. This is an extremely helpful and effective way to gather all of the information your child’s doctor will need in order to understand the complete picture of your child’s asthma.
Be Consistent with Medications
While there are no medications that will cure asthma, there are several long-term control medications that can be prescribed to help keep your child’s symptoms at bay. Other medications may be prescribed only for emergency use, during a flare-up or attack. It’s important to know exactly how and how often to use each type of medication. And it’s equally important to use them as prescribed, on a consistent basis. This will make it far easier to determine if your child’s medications are working effectively, or if the dosage or type of medication should be changed.
Get Urgent Medical Care Delivered to Your Home
If your child is having ongoing breathing difficulties, it can be a very scary thing. The watch and see approach could lead to a severe attack, so it’s best to seek medical attention. You don’t want to go to the local emergency room to endure those gruelling ER wait times while exposing the child to any number of germs and possible triggers. But an appointment with your family doctor may not be available for days. Fortunately, there’s a better way!
Call DispatchHealth to evaluate and treat your child in the comfort of your home. Our ER-trained clinical team will meet you wherever is most convenient. They can do peak flow testing to properly evaluate your child’s condition. Then, as needed, they’ll administer breathing treatments and help with both immediate and long-acting medications to help control symptoms and prevent or stop flare-ups when they happen. Our teams are available to treat the entire family, from 3 month old babies, all the way up to great grandma. They offer a faster way to get proper medical care for your young ones, without having to go to your local ER or clinic.