It’s very important that children with asthma receive proper treatment. An allergist can set your child on the right track for long-term control by helping you create an action plan with treatment goals for your child. With the right treatment, your child can sleep through the night, avoid missing day care or school and breathe more easily. The treatment plan should help you determine when your child’s asthma is under control, when you need to change medicines and when emergency help is needed.
I definitely think seeing an allergist has freed Taylor up and changed her life for the better.
Your child’s treatment will depend on the severity and frequency of their symptoms. To deal with childhood asthma, your allergist may prescribe two types of medicines:
- Quick relief: Any child who has asthma needs a quick-relief medicine to treat the noisy part of the disease – coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath or an asthma attack. This medicine (typically an inhaler) should always be with your child for use at the first sign of symptoms.
- Long-term control: This type of medicine is needed by some children to treat the quiet and dangerous part of asthma – the inﬂammation of the airways. This medication is taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms and attacks.
Kids can take both medicines using an inhaler with a spacer, or a device called a holding chamber, which helps to ensure that all the medication reaches the lungs. Another option is a nebulizer – a machine that includes compressor tubing and a mask to help deliver the medication. Your allergist, nurse or pharmacist can teach you how to use both, so you can determine what works best for your child.
Asthma medicines are very safe and effective when used as directed. Some studies have suggested that continued use of long-term control medicines can slightly slow growth in children, but it is vital to their health to treat their asthma symptoms.
Children with asthma should also get a flu shot each fall. Even though the injected version of the vaccine contains a very small amount of egg protein, it is safe for kids who have egg allergy.
Work with staff at your child’s school to make sure they are aware of your child’s treatment plan and that they know what to do if your child has an asthma attack. Your school may keep a supply of certain asthma medications in the nurse’s office. Involve coaches and other caretaking adults in the plan. Talk with your child about the asthma plan for school and for other places where the child spends time without you. Teach your child what to do if they have an asthma flare-up, if they find themselves around allergens or other triggers or if they forget their medicine.
Allergies and asthma don’t have to hold your child back. Visit an allergist, start treatment and watch your child’s symptoms fade into the background. You will see your child emerge, active and living their best life!