Around 3 million Canadians are affected by asthma. This respiratory disease causes the airways to block and become narrower leading to breathing difficulties. Usually, people either have allergic asthma or non-allergic asthma. There are numerous ways of helping your child cope with asthma. Depending on your child’s age, enabling them to understand their condition and how to deal with it are the first steps to their well-being. Children dealing with allergic asthma wheeze, cough, and face shortness of breath when they breathe in mold, pollen, or other allergy triggers. Here are some nifty tips you can try to make your little angel’s life simpler.
1. Make an Asthma Action Plan
It is vital that you visit an asthma treatment expert such as a pediatrician, a pulmonologist, or an allergist. Your doctor will devise a personalized action plan which states medicines to be given to your child and how often they should be taken. Though children can take similar asthma medicines as adults, it is given in smaller doses.
Tip: You can stick this action plan on the wall to ensure all the family members are knowledgeable about the treatment, in case of an emergency.
This lifesaver is a must-have for any asthmatic patient. Inhalers provide quick relief by easing breathing. Prescribed inhalers and the right technique can reduce your child’s risk of an asthma attack, let them sleep peacefully, cope better with asthma triggers, allow them to feel less breathless when playing, running, jumping, climbing stairs, or any other strenuous activities which require physical maneuvering.
Tip: Always keep a spare inhaler in your home. You never know when the one your child is currently using stops working. If you have a backup it can reduce stress, calm the attack, and in most cases even prevent you from rushing to the doctor.
If your little one is overly attached to a house pet, inform them, furry friends, though are a man’s best friend, are also the worst triggers for an asthma attack. It’s best if you don’t keep a pet at all, but if you must, then ensure they either stay out of the house or at least out of your kid’s bedroom. Unfortunately, this isn’t just restricted to pets, your child can also be allergic to furry soft toys, in which case chuck them out and get some short-haired plushies.
Tip: If the apple of your eye is an absolute pet lover, get them a hairless pet. Getting rabbits or a birdcage which you can keep in your garden can work too.
4. Identify Triggers
To identify what sets off your child’s asthma attack, pay close attention to her allergic reactions. Most of these triggers are present in the environment, such as dust, mold, tobacco smoke, fumes, pet dander (tiny flakes from a pet’s skin), and air pollution. Certain foods can also cause attacks such as peanuts, eggs, milk, soybean, fish, wheat, and shellfish.
Tip: Teach your child to recall everything they ate and experience the day they get an attack. This way you can analyze better and help them identify allergens.
5. Tidy Up
The accumulation of dust and bad hygiene levels can trigger asthma. Though not all of us have the time to keep our homes squeaky clean, it is essential to maintain some level of cleanliness. Getting rid of carpets can lead to a reduction of symptoms. Rugs are notorious for collecting dust and debris which can serve as a ticking time bomb for an asthma attack. Experts recommend getting wooden, tiled, or laminate flooring. They are easier to clean and the dust is visible so it will serve as a reminder.
Vacuum and mop once or twice a week to ensure you keep your place spick and span. Use a vacuum with HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter and use double bags when you empty the cleaner bags. HEPA room filters help keep the air clean. We recommend you dust everything in sight, including corners of bookshelves and study tables. Breathing in the fresh air will reduce your child’s asthma attacks by a significant amount.
Pesky dust mites can reside anywhere they like, they are practically invisible to the naked eye and lurk all around your little one’s bedroom. Ensure you keep the bedding clean, change their bed sheets, blankets, and pillow covers frequently. Wash their favorite plushie and rotate their mattress every three months or as instructed by the manufacturer. If you want to go the extra mile, cover it with dust-mite covers.
Open windows and let the sun come through. Sunlight eliminates germs naturally and keeps the room warm and cozy. Clean indoor mold and eliminate sources of moisture that feed it. Most of all follow a strict no smoking policy for your family members and visitors.
6. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Since obesity can lead to a higher chance of asthma, it is advised you monitor your child’s weight. Encourage them to play outdoor games and live an active lifestyle, though this can lead to shortness of breath. Taking intervals can help and enable them to have fun.
7. Home Cooked Meals
Taking control of what you feed them can also help maintain weight and a healthy lifestyle. Avoid foods they are allergic to and encourage them to enjoy home-cooked meals. Avoid going out to restaurants since the ingredients used can be a mystery and can offset an attack.
8. Prepare for an Emergency
Since you can’t always be around your child, teach them exactly how to deal with an attack in an emergency. Keep a nebulizer in your home and write down emergency number 911 on a sticky note near the phone for the worst-case scenario. A nebulizer is a machine powered by a battery or electricity, which turns liquid asthma medicine into a fine mist. This machine requires a face mask which is attached through a tube that carries the mist into the mouth and nose. Teach your child how to set it up, so they don’t always require your supervision. Most of all, tell them to inform you immediately even on the slightest inkling of an attack so you can be vigilant.