Asthma Tips for Kids

Get Smart about Asthma at home

Get Smart about Asthma at home

1. Teach your child about their medicine – Be sure to establish a routine for taking the medication as prescribed. Label your child’s asthma medications and be sure to let them know where it is stored.

2. Eliminate common asthma triggers – Look through your house for leading triggers like dust mites, mold, pet dander, cockroaches and pollen and eliminate what you can. Also, if your child has asthma, they should not be exposed to second-hand smoke. Therefore, do not allow smoking in your home.1

3. Kill mold and mildew - Though it's probably not your favorite task, eliminating mold and mildew from your bathroom can help prevent asthma flare-ups. Be sure to wash all bathmats and towels on a regular basis to avoid particle build-up. Also, keep your bathroom well ventilated so that mold and mildew is reduced.2,3

4. Outsmart the dust mites - Dust mites are tiny bugs that feed on flakes of human skin and are found in mattresses, pillows, carpet, upholstered furniture and stuffed animals.4 Wash your sheets and stuffed animals in hot water (at least 130° F) and vacuum weekly to minimize dust mites. Look for products with a seal from the Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program.5

5. Clear the air – Many people seal their windows and doors to manage their heating and cooling costs, and doing so can also help you manage your child's asthma by keeping outdoor allergens, like pollen, from entering your house. It's also a good idea to invest in a good central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system to minimize air pollution and be sure to clean or change the filters every three to six months. Keeping HVAC air filters clean can help minimize many common indoor asthma triggers.6

6. Teach family, friends and teachers about your child's medicine – Keep an Asthma Action Plan and instructions explaining when and how medicines should be taken for anyone caring for your child when you are not around.

Get Smart about Asthma at school

Get Smart about Asthma at school

1. Create an Asthma Action Plan – Asthma is the number one chronic condition causing kids to be absent from school. Work with your child's doctor to create an Asthma Action Plan containing information about symptoms, medications, physical limitations and instructions on what to do if asthma symptoms or an asthma attack occur.7

2. Meet with your child’s teachers, the school nurse, Phys-Ed teacher and the principal – Schedule time to meet once each marking period to review your child’s Asthma Action Plan and ensure that they know what to do if your child has an asthma attack while at school.7

3. Label your child’s medication – When you drop off your child’s asthma medication at the nurse's office, be sure to label it in order to avoid confusion. Also provide detailed instructions about when and how often their medicine should be taken.7

Get Smart about Asthma during play dates

Get Smart about Asthma during play dates

1. Don't keep it a secret – Before your child has a play date, talk to the other parents about your child's asthma.7 If the parents of your child's friends are uncomfortable or nervous about having your child over to play because of their asthma, suggest that the play date occur at your house.

2. Pack their inhalers – Always be sure your child is taking their medication as prescribed. If your child is going to be spending the day at their friend’s house, or even attending a sleep-over, have them take their medicine with them. Notify the parents where your child will be spending time of what medications should be taken and at what time. Don’t forget to pack your child’s quick-relief inhaler in case he or she has sudden symptoms.

3. Provide emergency contact information – Give the parents of your child’s friends a contact card with your phone number as well as your child’s doctor’s number, an additional emergency contact, a list of the medications your child is on and any allergies he or she may have.

Get Smart about Seasonal Asthma

Get Smart about Seasonal Asthma

1. Bundle up – During the fall, temperatures begin to drop which can trigger your child’s asthma. If he or she is on a maintenance medication, be sure they take their medicine as prescribed every day to prevent inflammation and asthma symptoms.8

2. Get the flu shot – Kids with asthma may be at higher risk for flu complications. Help them prevent the flu by taking them to get a flu shot. Remind them to wash their hands regularly and limit their contact with others who are ill.9

3. Do outdoor activities early – Weed pollens are highest during midday, so try to schedule and complete all outdoor activities, like sports and outdoor chores before the pollen count gets high. If raking up leaves is one of their weekend chores, have them wear a surgical mask to protect their mouth from breathing in mold and leaf debris that can trigger asthma. For all outdoor activities, kids should wear gloves, long-sleeve shirts and pants to help prevent mold from getting on their skin.10,11

4. Wash away pollen – Since pollen counts are high in the fall, be sure to do your family's laundry frequently to eliminate the pollen that sticks to their clothes and can trigger asthma.11

5. Keep track of their triggers – Monitor your child's symptoms and their medication intake on a regular basis. If you find that they are using their quick-relief inhaler more than they have in other seasons, discuss this with their doctor in case you need to adjust your child's treatment plan.8

IMPORTANT: If your child is currently using a maintenance medication to control his or her asthma symptoms, ensure that they take the medication daily. Maintenance medications are intended to help treat inflammation and prevent asthma attacks, so it’s important that you adhere to your child’s prescribed treatment regimen in order for the medication to be effective.

References
  1. Environmental Protection Agency. Asthma Triggers: Gain Control. April 11, 2012. Available at http://www.epa.gov/asthma/triggers.html. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  2. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Indoor Allergens: Tips to Remember. Online. 2012. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/indoor-allergens.aspx. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  3. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Cleaning Tips for Allergy and Asthma Sufferers. Online. 2012. Available at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/allergy-library/cleaning-tips-for-allergy-and-asthma-sufferers.aspx. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  4. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Dust Mites. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=9&sub=18&cont=228. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  5. Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program. Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home. Available at: http://www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com/images/stories/pdf/brochures/reduced_allergen_guide.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  6. Asthma & Allergy Friendly Certification Program. Guide for Reducing Allergens and Irritants in the Home. Available at: http://www.asthmaandallergyfriendly.com/images/stories/pdf/brochures/reduced_allergen_guide.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  7. At School With Asthma. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Available at: http://www.aafa.org/schools. Accessed October 14, 2012.
  8. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. So You Have Asthma. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/asthma/have_asthma.pdf. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adults With Asthma Should Receive Flu Vaccination. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/asthma/flushot.htm. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  10. National Jewish Health. Pediatric Asthma: Getting Ready for Fall. Available at: http://www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/pediatric/asthma/lifestyle-management/fall/. Accessed September 11, 2012.
  11. American Lung Association. Avoiding Autumn Asthma Triggers. Available at: http://www.lung.org/about-us/our-impact/top-stories/avoiding-autumn-asthma.html. Accessed September 11, 2012.