By Lauren Hill
Continued from part 1 of this article…..
The best way to deal with asthma, and especially an asthma attack, is to be aware of the warning signs your child typically shows before an attack. An asthma attack is when your child’s lungs are not getting enough air to breathe adequately, caused by the swelling and inflammation due to asthma. Some children’s attacks are triggered by environmental things like pets, mold, or allergens in the air. Other kids experience asthma attacks when they are active or become too worked up. Regardless of what causes your child’s asthma, they will show signs of an impending attack that are usually similar each time. A good way to become familiar with your child’s warning signs is to keep a checklist or running tally of the signs that they showed before each attack. For example, if you notice that your child begins to cough at night shortly before they have an attack, you can write that down as a warning sign. The next time you notice them coughing in their beds, you can be more prepared to help them treat the attack.
Create an Action Plan
An asthma attack can be a scary experience for all involved, but most especially for the child experiencing it. In those scary situations, it can be easy to freeze up and forget what should be done. Creating an action plan can keep you, your child, and other adults in your child’s life – like their teacher – on the same page of how to treat the attack. Most action plans involve figuring out the right amount of daily medication that is needed to control your child’s asthma on a day-to-day basis, as well as the emergency medication that would be required in the case of an attack. A device like a peak flow reader can help you track how well your child’s lungs are working and can let you know when the asthma may be getting worse. Recording these peak flow readings can help you follow a daily plan to keep the disease in check.
In the case of an emergency situation or attack, your child’s action plan should include the warning signs, what their peak flow reading will look like, the medication required to reduce symptoms, and the point at which emergency personnel should be contacted. A copy of both the daily and rescue action plan should be given to any adult who is in direct care of your child so that they are aware of any needs your child may have.
Control the Triggers
In order to gain control of asthma and to reduce attacks in the future, it’s important to figure out your child’s asthma triggers and avoid them as often as possible. Cigarette smoke can be a trigger for many kids, so if you or another family member smokes, quitting or doing all smoking outdoors can help keep your child’s lungs healthy. Sometimes furry pets are the culprit of some kids’ coughing and wheezing. Unfortunately, the best solution in that case is to find the pet a new home. Even when the animal is outside the home, dander and fur tracked in on clothing can trigger attacks as well. Playing hard and excessive activity can be another common trigger, and although it can be hard to get a small child to slow down, it is important to help them realize that their trigger can make them feel sick and cause an attack.
Removing asthmatic triggers from your home and your child’s school environment is essential if you want your child to gain control over their disease. It is your responsibility to provide them with a healthy environment where they can be safe from the sometimes life-threatening attacks. These tips can help you get started on the path to control over your child’s asthma and can bring them great comfort knowing that you will be taking care of their wellbeing.
– Lauren Hill is a freelance writer and Mom to an asthmatic child. She finds great joy in educating others on dealing with asthma. Lauren is a contributing author for RabbitAir.com.