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Asthma is a chronic (ongoing) disease of the airways in the lungs. It can’t be cured, but it can be controlled. Get to know your child’s symptoms, and understand your child’s treatment plan.
A child whose asthma is in control can do all of the things other kids do. He or she can play with other kids and take part in sports. When asthma is under control, your child sleeps better. This means more energy for school and play. And with fewer missed school days, you’ll miss fewer workdays. When asthma is under control, it doesn’t disrupt family life. Most important, controlling asthma cuts the risk that the child will die of asthma. This means greater safety for your child, and peace of mind for you. Controlling asthma does take some work, but the results are worth it.
Some asthma symptoms, like wheezing or struggling to breathe, are hard to miss. But coughing or tiredness can also be due to asthma. Some children have symptoms often (persistent asthma). Others have symptoms once in a while (intermittent asthma). Keep in mind your child’s pattern of symptoms.
Discuss care with your child’s healthcare provider.
Coughing, especially at night
Getting tired or out of breath easily
Wheezing (a whistling noise when breathing out)
Fast breathing when at rest
Call 911 right away if you see any of these!
Very fast or hard breathing
Sucking in between the ribs and above and below the breastbone (retractions)
Being unable to walk or talk
Lips or fingers turning blue
Peak flow is less than 50 percent of the child's personal best
If you answer “yes” to either of the questions below, your child’s asthma may not be in control. Work with your child’s healthcare provider to improve the plan. Discuss any problems that make it hard for you or your child to stick to the plan.
Does your child need to use his quick-relief inhaler more than 2 times a week (other than before exercise)?
Does your child wake up at night with symptoms more than 2 times a month?
Understand your child’s treatment plan.
Understand each of your child’s medications and how to use each one.
Know what makes your child’s asthma worse and help your child control or avoid these triggers.
Spot the symptoms of a flare-up. Teach your child how to get help when a flare-up occurs. Be sure daycare providers, the school nurse, and babysitters know how to treat a flare-up.