Knowing how to prevent attacks will help your child overcome asthma They can be triggered by the most innocuous things—the grass underfoot, a downy pillow, a cuddly pup. But once they start, asthma attacks can leave a child struggling for air.
Asthma attacks are more than just frightening: Studies show that children today are dying of asthma at twice the rate they did in 1980. Yet while it can’t be cured, asthma can be controlled.
The first step in managing childhood asthma is forming a three-way partnership between the child, the parents and the physician. If your son or daughter is affected, ask your physician to help guide your child to identify the triggers that cause the bronchial tubes to swell. Once you have identified the triggers, limit your child’s attacks by eliminating them from his or her environment.
When triggers can’t be controlled, medications can prevent or halt an attack. Antiinflammatory medications and other drugs can prevent the bronchial tubes from swelling. But if an attack occurs, your child, if old enough, should know how to use a metered-dose inhaler to administer a bronchodilator (medication that opens the bronchial tubes) or a home nebulizer that emits a mist of water and medication. Respiratory therapists can provide in-home instruction on using these devices.
Another key is having your child learn to use a peak-flow meter, which measures airflow strength. The meter can help parents determine when to seek emergency treatment.