You and your child's providers should work together as a team to create and carry out an asthma action plan.
This plan will tell you how to:
The plan should also tell you when to call the provider. It is important to know what questions to ask your child's provider.
Children with asthma need a lot of support at school.
- Give the school staff your asthma action plan so they know how to take care of your child's asthma.
- Find out how to let your child take medicine during school hours. (You may need to sign a consent form.)
- Having asthma does not mean your child cannot exercise. Coaches, gym teachers, and your child should know what to do if your child has asthma symptoms caused by exercise.
There are two basic kinds of medicine used to treat asthma.
Long-term control drugs are taken every day to prevent asthma symptoms. Your child should take these medicines even if no symptoms are present. Some children may need more than one long-term control medicine.
Types of long-term control medicines include:
- Inhaled steroids (these are usually the first choice of treatment)
- Long-acting bronchodilators (these are almost always used with inhaled steroids)
- Leukotriene inhibitors
- Cromolyn sodium
Quick relief or rescue asthma drugs work fast to control asthma symptoms. Children take them when they are coughing, wheezing, having trouble breathing, or having an asthma attack.
Some of your child's asthma medicines can be taken using an inhaler.
- Children who use an inhaler should use a spacer device. This helps them get the medicine into the lungs properly.
- If your child uses the inhaler the wrong way, less medicine gets into the lungs. Have your provider show your child how to correctly use an inhaler.
- Younger children can use a nebulizer instead of an inhaler to take their medicine. A nebulizer turns asthma medicine into a mist.
GETTING RID OF TRIGGERS
It is important to know your child's asthma triggers. Avoiding them is the first step toward helping your child feel better.
Keep pets outdoors, or at least away from the child's bedroom.
No one should smoke in a house or around a child with asthma.
- Getting rid of tobacco smoke in the home is the single most important thing a family can do to help a child with asthma.
- Smoking outside the house is not enough. Family members and visitors who smoke carry the smoke inside on their clothes and hair. This can trigger asthma symptoms.
- DO NOT use indoor fireplaces.
Keep the house clean. Keep food in containers and out of bedrooms. This helps reduce the possibility of cockroaches, which can trigger asthma attacks. Cleaning products in the home should be unscented.
MONITOR YOUR CHILD'S ASTHMA
Checking peak flow is one of the best ways to control asthma. It can help you keep your child's asthma from getting worse. Asthma attacks usually DO NOT happen without warning.
Children under age 5 may not be able to use a peak flow meter well enough for it to be helpful. However, a child should start using the peak flow meter at a young age to get used to it. An adult should always watch for a child's asthma symptoms.
What's an Asthma Management Plan?
What should be in an asthma management plan?
- A. What medicines you take and when
- B. A list of your asthma triggers and how to avoid them
- C. How to tell when your asthma is getting worse
- D. When to call your doctor or go to the emergency room
- E. All of the above
The correct answer is all of the above. An asthma management plan –also called an asthma action plan – is a written document that helps you control your asthma over the long term and in emergencies. You and your doctor can work together to create your own personal plan.
Everyone with asthma, including children, should have an asthma action plan.
- A. True
- B. False
The correct answer is true. Asthma action plans are an important tool to help people of all ages manage asthma.
Your child with asthma needs support at school. You can help by:
- A. Making sure school staff have the child's asthma action plan
- B. Making sure your child has a place to go to get away from asthma triggers
- C. Making sure the staff know and can treat asthma symptoms caused by exercise
- D. Making sure your child is allowed to use his or her asthma medicines at school
- E. Not allowing your child to play with other children
- F. A, B, C and D
The correct answers are A, B, C and D. Your child's teachers, coaches, the school nurse and the school office staff are all key members of your support team. Work with them so they can help your child manage asthma symptoms.
The green zone on your asthma management plan means you are:
- A. Allergic to grass
- B. Doing well
- C. Feeling ill
The correct answer is doing well. The green zone is your happy place when it comes to asthma. You're not coughing or wheezing, and you can do your regular activities. Your long-term control medicines are managing your asthma.
Your asthma has gotten worse. Your asthma action plan says you're now in:
- A. The yellow zone
- B. The black zone
- C. The Twilight Zone
The correct answer is the yellow zone. Yellow-zone symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath. Your asthma action plan tells you which quick-relief medicine to take and how much – and what to do if you don't go back to the green zone.
Which of these is a sign you're in the red zone?
- A. Your quick-relief medicines aren't helping.
- B. You have severe shortness of breath.
- C. After 24 hours in the yellow zone, your symptoms are the same or worse.
- D. All of the above
The correct answer is all of the above. Get help right away if you are in the red zone of your asthma action plan. Take the medicines in your plan and call your doctor. Call 911 if you are still in the red zone after 15 minutes and you can't reach your doctor.
A big part of managing asthma is staying away from your asthma triggers.
- A. True
- B. False
The correct answer is true. Things that make asthma worse are called triggers. Common triggers are dust, mold, pollen, and smoke. You will need to learn how to avoid your asthma triggers. Write down your triggers and talk with your doctor if you need more ideas for coping.
If you think your asthma action plan isn't working, you should:
- A. Give it more time
- B. Tell your doctor right away
- C. Use someone else's
The correct answer is tell your doctor right away. Asthma can be managed, but it can change over time. Your doctor may need to adjust your asthma action plan. Tracking your symptoms and using a peak flow meter can help you and your doctor address problems early.
To control your asthma, you can't be physically active.
- A. True
- B. False
The correct answer is false. Exercise can trigger asthma in some people, but that doesn't mean you should give it up. Everyone needs physical activity for good health. Talk with your doctor about how you can stay active while managing your asthma.
Most people with asthma can manage their symptoms by following their asthma action plans and:
- A. Having regular asthma checkups
- B. Never leaving home without a mask
- C. Avoiding crowds
The correct answer is having regular asthma checkups. There is no cure for asthma. But working with your doctor can help you avoid problems, take good care of yourself, and live a full and active life.