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Asthma - what to ask your doctor - child

  • Definition
    • Asthma is a problem with the airways that bring oxygen to your lungs. A person with asthma may not feel symptoms all the time. But when an asthma attack happens, it becomes hard for air to pass through the airways. The symptoms are:

      • Coughing
      • Wheezing
      • Chest tightness
      • Shortness of breath

      Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your child's asthma.

  • Alternate Names
    • What to ask your doctor about asthma - child

  • Questions
    • Is my child taking asthma medicines the right way?

      • What medicines should my child take every day (called controller drugs)? What should I do if my child misses a day?
      • Which medicines should my child take when they are short of breath (called rescue drugs)? Is it ok to use these rescue drugs every day?
      • What are the side effects of these medicines? For what side effects should I call the doctor?
      • How will I know when the inhalers are getting empty? Is my child using the inhaler the right way? Should my child be using a spacer?

      What are some signs that a child's asthma is getting worse and that I need to call the doctor? What should I do when my child feels short of breath?

      What shots or vaccinations does my child need?

      How do I find out when smog or pollution is worse?

      What sort of changes should I make around the home?

      • Can we have a pet? In the house or outside? How about in the bedroom?
      • Is it ok for anyone to smoke in the house? How about if my child is not in the house when someone is smoking?
      • Is it ok for me to clean and vacuum when my child is in the house?
      • Is it ok to have carpets in the house?
      • What type of furniture is best to have?
      • How do I get rid of dust and mold in the house? Do I need to cover my child's bed or pillows?
      • Can my child have stuffed animals?
      • How do I know if I have cockroaches in my home? How do I get rid of them?
      • Can I have a fire in my fireplace or a wood-burning stove?

      What does my child's school or daycare need to know about my child's asthma?

      • Do I need to have an asthma plan for the school?
      • How can I make sure my child can use the medicines at school?
      • Can my child participate fully in gym class at school?

      What types of exercises or activities are better for a child with asthma to do?

      • Are there times when my child should avoid being outside?
      • Are there things that I can do before my child starts exercising?

      Does my child need tests or treatments for allergies? What should I do when I know my child will be around something that triggers their asthma?

      What type of arrangements do I need to make when we are planning to travel?

      • What medicines should I bring? How do we get refills?
      • Who should I call if my child's asthma gets worse?
  • References
    • Jackson DJ, Lemanske RF, Guilbert TW. Management of asthma in infants and children. In: Adkinson NF Jr., Bochner BS, Burks AW, et al., eds. In: Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2013:chap 53.

      Liu AH, Covar RA, Spahn JD, Leung DYM. Childhood asthma. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 138.