Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and may produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing and wheezing when you breathe out, and shortness of breath. The following tips can come in handy if your child is asthmatic.

Keep regular medical appointments

It is important to visit the doctor regularly. This way he or she can evaluate your child’s progress to see how to tweak medication to best suit your child. Follow the doctor’s treatment plan and other important information such as how to use tools like the inhaler and peak flow meter. With a doctor’s visit, there's some sense of hope for your child.

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Stick to your asthma action plan

Work with the medical team to develop an asthma action plan. An asthma action plan or management plan is a written plan that you create with your child's doctor to help control your child's asthma. This action plan consists of clear steps to take on how to take medication, how to deal with triggers and how to tackle flare-ups.  The plan will indicate when to call the doctor in case of a serious flare-up. Make sure the school nurse has a copy of the plan as well as other caregivers of your child.

Follow doctor's medicine prescription

Medication is something an asthmatic child needs to get used to, unfortunately. Medication keeps the airways from blocking due to irritation. There is also quick-relief medication for flare-ups that must be taken as prescribed. Make sure that you and your child know how the medication should be taken.

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Be aware of triggers and deal with them

Asthma flare-ups can be caused by triggers such as pollen, mould, or viral infections that irritate the airways.  In case there are seasonal allergies, the doctor might need to give your son or daughter additional medication. Other allergens include pet dander and household chemicals.

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One of the biggest problems for a child with asthma is influenza. Influenza causes the airways to swell and get sensitive. The lungs get inflamed and this causes a flare-up and asthma attack symptoms. Without a flu shot, your child could develop other illnesses including pneumonia. Therefore, it is critical to get your child a flu vaccine shot.

Use available tools

An important tool that can be used as a monitor your child’s condition is an asthma diary and a peak flow meter. In the diary, write about your child's asthma symptoms as well as the frequency of flare-ups and the need for medication. A peak flow meter is also useful because it measures how open the airways are to avoid a flare-up.

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Know flare-up signs

Through experience, you can notice warning signs of a potential flare-up. Such signs include wheezing and coughing.  By being aware of such signs, you can predict a flare-up and take the necessary steps to take the bull by the horns. In addition, if your child complains of chest pains, you will know what medication to administer.

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Empower your child

Explain to your child what to do whenever she or he, feels ‘strange’. This way she or he can report to the caregiver available. In case there is no one around, she or he can take medication on their own. This is empowerment.

It also helps when your child has a positive outlook of the illness because it’s chronic and a negative attitude will not cure it.

In a nutshell...

Asthma is manageable and when all precautions and actions are taken, your child can live a full life.

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