April showers may bring beautiful May flowers, but those budding springtime flowers can also aggravate your child’s asthma. This can make it a tough season for some. Childhood asthma is actually pretty common, with about 6 million cases reported by the Center of Disease Control. Parents, if you think your child has asthma, Hospitality Health ER wants to prepare you with a few warning signs and tips on how to be proactive.
How Can I Tell if My Child Has Asthma? Signs of Childhood Asthma
Although wheezing is the symptom most commonly associated with asthma, there are other symptoms that you should be on the lookout for. Here are some of them:
- Chronic cough that doesn’t respond to cough suppressants
- Rapid breathing
- Chest tightness, especially in the morning
- Exercise intolerance
- Difficulty sleeping
- A wheezing or whistling sound when breathing
- Slow recovery after a viral infection
It is important to note that asthma signs and symptoms can affect children in different ways. Your child could only have one symptom, whereas another child could have 3 of the symptoms. For example, even if your child is just showing signs of a lingering cough, but it isn’t accompanied by all of the other symptoms, it is still best to get them checked out by a professional.
If your child is asthmatic, you may notice that they have less stamina than other children. Does your child tend to avoid sports and other physical activities because they don’t want to cough? Do they complain of chest pain and shortness of breath when they’re outdoors or being active? If so, you may want to take them to the doctor.
When Should My Child See a Doctor?
The earlier you begin to monitor the symptoms and preventatively treat, the lesser chances are of an asthma attack. Of course, that depends on the severity of the issue. If you, or your child, notice any of the above symptoms, whether it be 1 or all, it is best to make an appointment with your child’s doctor.
Depending on your child’s age, they may not be able to communicate that they are having difficulty breathing. It’s important for you to monitor their breathing habits, playing habits, etc., however, it can be helpful at times to ask they how they are feeling. You may get an answer like, “my chest feels funny”.
Although this can be rare, emergency treatment is necessary at times. According to Mayo Clinic, you should seek emergency care if your child:
- Has to stop in midsentence to catch his or her breath
- Is using abdominal muscles to breathe
- Has widened nostrils when breathing in
- Is trying so hard to breathe that the abdomen is sucked under the ribs when he or she breathes in
How Can I Prevent Asthma Attacks?
Although preventative measures don’t always guarantee your child won’t have an asthma attack, there are easy habits guardians can do, to decrease the possibility of one occurring.
Try to keep your child away from smoke. Especially at a young age, children are more susceptible to an asthma attack, if they are near tobacco smoke.
Make regular doctor visits. Any time you or your child notice that their asthma is not under control, it might be best to check in with their doctor.
Encourage your child to actively participate in physical activities. However, encourage them to keep it under control and to stop if they need to. This will help exercise their lungs and will keep them working more efficiently.
Lastly, and most importantly, avoid triggers to their asthma. This includes both allergens and irritants.
How Can I Be Prepared If My Child Has Asthma?
First, partner closely with your child’s pediatrician to come up with the best plan for your child and learn how to administer medications. Stay in tune with what triggers asthma flare-ups. Here are other life-saving tips to get you going.
#1. Write down type (nebulizer or oral corticosteroids), frequency, and doses of asthma medications. Post it somewhere visible, so that anyone can help in case of an emergency. Talk to all family members and babysitters about the child’s medication.
#2. Make sure your child has easy access to their asthma medication and that they’re trained to react and use their medication (if they’re capable).
#3. Take note of the closest emergency room wherever you are, even if you are traveling.
#4. Talk to your child about avoiding things that trigger their asthma.
#5. Partner with anyone who will have your child in their care: teachers, bus drivers, coaches, and babysitters. Make sure they are trained to respond if your child has an asthma attack.
Because asthma can be a life-threatening medical condition, Hospitality Health ER tells parents, “When in doubt, get checked out.” When it comes to health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Learn more about asthma and how air pollution can affect the lungs at Hospitality Health ER’s blog. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for the latest with Hospitality Health Emergency Room’s and exciting giveaways.