Asthma in Children
Doctors treat children with asthma in much the same way they treat adults with asthma. The same medications are used, but in smaller doses. Suggestions for parents include limiting the child's exposure to known asthma triggers, ensuring the child knows how to treat his or her asthma, and making teachers and coaches aware of the child's treatment plan.
Children with asthma, like adults with asthma, should see a doctor for treatment. Treatment may include:
- Allergy testing
- Finding ways to limit contact with things that cause asthma attacks
- Taking medication.
Young children will need help from their parents and other caregivers to keep their asthma under control. Older children can learn to care for themselves and follow their asthma action plan with less supervision.
Medications for asthma in children are like those adults use, but the doses are smaller. Children may need both a quick-relief (or "rescue") inhaler for attacks and long-term daily medication to control their asthma. Children with moderate or severe asthma should learn to use a peak flow meter to help keep their asthma under control. Using a peak flow meter can be helpful, because children often have a hard time describing their symptoms.
Parents should be alert for possible signs of asthma in children, such as:
- Coughing at night
- Frequent colds
- Other signs of breathing problems.
If you suspect asthma in your child -- or that your child's asthma is not in good control -- take your child to a doctor for an exam and testing.
Your doctor will prescribe medication for your child based on the child's symptoms and test results. If your child has asthma, you should go to the doctor for regular follow-up visits and make sure that your child uses the medication properly.