After a parent finds out their child has asthma, it is often hard to know how to handle the situation. But helping their child figure out how to cope with having asthma is the number one thing they could possibly do.
Understand What and Why It Is
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The first thing that every parent of an asthmatic child should do is educate themselves on the condition. They should know the basic concepts of why asthma happens, how it is controlled and what to expect. Once they have that foundation, they will be better prepared to assist their child.
Identify Asthma Triggers
Everyone responds to asthma differently. Eventually, both the parent and the child will be able to identify what triggers the asthma as well as what causes asthma attacks. Parents can assist their child by reducing the amount of triggers within their home. Examples of common household triggers include dust, animal hair, pollen, grass, animal saliva, mold, smoke, air fresheners, hair spray, perfume or paint.
Asthma triggers can also include things such as common infections, exercise, breathing in cold air, or weather changes. By identifying certain triggers that cause asthma attacks, they will eventually become easier to avoid.
Prepare for Flare-Ups
Parents need to be aware that it does not just end at asthma attacks. Children often go through flare-ups where their air passages are narrowing or becoming inflamed and they do not feel it. Breathing can feel normal, but everyday asthma triggers can still be causing inflammation. By being aware that these flare-ups are a risk, parents can assist their child in recognizing when their airway is not functioning correctly.
Establish Breathing Tests
Often, flare-ups can be avoided by going through daily breathing tests. Parents can use an at-home-method with a “peak flow meter,” a device that measures breathing ability. When the peak flow drops, it is a sign of increasing inflammation. It can often detect small amounts of inflammation even when a child feels fine. These readings can give a parent time to treat a flare-up before it even happens.
Taking Prescribed Medication
Taking prescription medication with the help of an asthma inhaler is essential for children suffering from flare-ups or attacks. Some medication tackles symptoms with a quick relief method, while others are designed to relieve symptoms over longer periods of time. Parents need to teach their children the proper way to use their asthma inhaler and how to recognize when their medication is needed.
Once parents have figured out how their child reacts during a flare-up or asthma attack, they should establish a plan. This plan should explain exactly what to do during and after an asthma attack as well as how to recognize the difference between an attack and a flare-up. Children should practice their own techniques and establish confidence in order to handle their own medication or treatment. Once they have established a self-motivating plan, they will be better equipped to handle their condition.
While it is hard for both the parent and the child, asthmatic conditions can be controlled. All it takes is the right steps.