|infants & toddlers|
|Asthma, You and Your Child:
Recognizing triggers, monitoring symptoms, & getting treatment
Asthma is a chronic lung disease that affects about 5 million children in the United States. As parents, you can play a pivotal role in the diagnosis and management of your child's asthma. To do this, you must have some knowledge of the disease and a good working relationship with your child's health care provider. This combination and an individualized treatment plan, can give you the tools you need to practice self-management and help control your child's asthma.
In addition to controlling factors that contribute to asthma symptoms, some children will also require medications. Long-term-control medications, i.e. anti-inflammatories, are used daily to prevent, reverse and control asthma symptoms. There are two types of anti-inflammatories; steroidal and non-steroidal. Anti-inflammatories have also been referred to as "preventive" or "quiet" medicines because they are used every day to help with the quiet part (airway swelling) of asthma.
Quick-relief medications provide immediate relief of asthma symptoms. Bronchodilators are the major category in this class. They have often been referred to as "rescue" or "noisy" medicines because they are used to control the noisy part (airway narrowing) and (hyper-responsiveness) of asthma.
Asthma medications are available in several forms. They include: oral, nebulized, metered-dose inhalers (used with spacing/holding devices), and dry-powder inhalers. All but the dry-powder inhalers can be used as early as infancy. When possible, the inhaled forms are preferred because they are delivered directly to the lungs where they are needed allowing for fewer side effects. In order for the medications to be effective, they must be delivered properly. Therefore, it is imperative that you are educated on proper administration techniques.
Monitoring your child's asthma and communicating with his health care provider can have a positive impact on your child's asthma care and quality of life.
American Lung Association of CT: 800.586.4872.
Mothers of Asthmatics: 800.878.4403.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology: 800.822.2762.
|Tina Tolomeo, RN, MSN, is the nurse coordinator for the Section of Pediatric Respiratory Medicine at Yale and the asthma educator for the Pediatric Asthma Care Team at the Yale Pediatric Asthma Clinic, 203.785.4081.|
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