In the last post, we learned that asthma is RECURRENT (happens again and again) and REVERSIBLE (returns to normal) blockage of the airway. Today, let’s talk about how to treat these changes which are causing cough.
How is asthma treated?
Treatment is targeted at the two changes in the lungs.
- Bronchospasm is treated with medications that help relax the muscle spasm around the airways. This usually involves albuterol as an inhaler or in a nebulizer machine that creates a mist the child inhales. Sometimes albuterol is called a “rescue medicine”.
- Inflammation is treated with inhaled or oral corticosteroids. Inhaled steroids provide tiny daily doses directly to the inflamed tissue in the lungs to provide ongoing control. Sometimes inhaled steroids are called “controller” or “maintenance” treatments. The goal of these medicines is to avoid asthma attacks.
Will my child always has asthma? Will he outgrow it?
While many children do outgrow asthma, some continue to have problems even as adults. Up to half of kids no longer have asthma 10 years after the initial diagnosis. For the remainder, symptoms often become less frequent and severe, but it is important to recognize symptoms and treat early.
Can my child play sports if he has asthma?
The goal of asthma treatment is to keep asthma symptoms from interfering with your child’s quality of life. While kids with asthma are at risk for missing school, due to doctor’s visits or even the hospital stays, our goal at Northside Pediatrics is managing asthma so that your child can participate fully in whatever activities he desires. This involves educating you and your child about asthma- from what is going on in his lungs, to what triggers his symptoms, to treating and preventing them – as well as monitoring his symptoms on a regular basis.
So what do I need to do as a parent of an asthmatic child?
- Be a symptom sleuth! Learn what triggers your child’s symptoms. Learn what medicines your child is on, how they work and when to use them. Again, NSP can help. We will provide a written asthma action plan at each asthma visit so you know what to do when symptoms are changing.
- Get comfortable! At Northside Pediatrics, we want to review all the asthma details so you feel empowered when taking care of your child. We can also provide you with handouts and internet resources so you can keep on learning at home. Try to bring all of his asthma medications and a copy of his plan to all doctor visits- even when asthma isn’t on the agenda. It never hurts to review all of his asthma care with you and him.
- Check in! Your child should see his provider at least twice a year to review his asthma care- once at his check up and once in between. However, if he is symptomatic and not improving with your usual interventions- of course, don’t hesitate to bring him in.
Managing asthma is a team effort. With you, your child and the providers and staff of NSP, we can keep you in control of asthma instead of asthma in control of you!