Teaching Your Child about Asthma
Teaching your child about asthma is an important step in controlling the disease. As children become older they can take the lead in controlling their own asthma. Encourage your child to stay active. Studies have shown that being healthy and fit can reduce asthma attacks, even if exercise is an asthma trigger for your child.
Keep an asthma diary that describes everything about each asthma attack: when, where, what and why. Talk your child’s doctor about your results.
When- When did the attack happen? What time of day or night?
Where- Where was your child: at home, school, car, outside?
What- What was your child doing when the asthma attack started? Sometimes it can take hours for symptoms to start after contact to a trigger.
Why- Try to guess the reason for the asthma attack. Was your child sleeping or exercising? Had your child been around secondhand smoke?
Here are some suggestions to help your child understand and cope with their asthma.
Infant - 4 years old
Through these years, your child will need the most help. Keeping regular doctor check-ups are very important. Some common symptoms to look for are:
If you are concerned your child might have asthma, talk to the doctor. Write down any symptoms and questions you may have. Take note of when, where, what, and why.
Young children 5-9 years old
At this age, children are becoming more aware about their surroundings and themselves. Teach your child about their asthma. There are children’s books and movies about asthma that can make good teaching aids. Talk to your child about his or her asthma triggers and how to avoid them. Use pictures and activity books to explain what happens to the lungs during an asthma attack.
Teach your child about their medications (quick-relief and long-tern control), why they have to take the medicine and how it helps. Explain the need to take their medicine even when they feel fine.
Show your child how to take medicines and use their peak flow meter and spacer.
Explain your child’s Asthma Action Plan to them.
Children 10-14 years old
Children begin to experience new friendships and new activities in these years. Help to build self-esteem by encouraging your child to be actively involved with others and events. Explain that exercise may cause asthma to flare-up, but that it should not cause them to be inactive.
Talking with your teenager about their asthma is very important. Pressure to “fit in” can seem more important than worrying about asthma. Encourage them to take responsibility to control their asthma.