What is asthma?
Asthma is a common chronic lung disease that can make it hard to breathe. This happens because airways become inflamed or swollen, fill with mucus, and tighten. Asthma symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing (an “asthma attack”).
Your child may not have these symptoms all of the time; however, it’s still important to take the prescribed asthma control medicines to prevent having an attack.
Everyone’s asthma can look different, so you and your health care provider will come up with a personalized asthma action plan for you to follow each day.
There is no cure for asthma; however, you can control your asthma if you take your medicine exactly as your doctor tells you and stay away from things that can trigger an asthma attack.
The main ways to treat asthma are:
Be sure to make an asthma action plan with your doctor, and keep a copy of it with your child. It will include a list of your child’s asthma triggers, instructions for using medication, and ways to better control your asthma.
There are many different medications to treat asthma. Some medicines are(“inhaler”) and others are pills or liquid that you swallow. It is important that you take the medications that your doctor prescribed, and that you are using your inhaler the right way. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about your medication.
The American Lung Association has information for parents of children with asthma, including diagnosis, treatment, and lots of resources.
Avoiding Asthma Triggers
It is important to identify and reduce your child’s exposure to “triggers”- things that can worsen their asthma or cause asthma attacks.
Triggers can come from a variety of sources, including irritants, allergens, viral infections, temperature, exercise, and stress. Tracking when and why your child gets asthma attacks can help you identify triggers and avoid them.
How does climate change impact asthma?
Climate change is affecting the air we breathe. Warmer temperatures will decrease air quality by increasing air pollution and creating longer allergy seasons. Exposure to poor air quality can irritate the lungs, increase the risk and severity of asthma attacks, and worsen allergies.
Protect your health by monitoring outdoor air quality and staying inside when the air quality reaches unhealthy levels.