Clinical Reference Systems: Pediatric Advisor 10.0
Asthma - Brief Version
For an illustration of the narrowing of the bronchioles in
asthma, click here
What is asthma?
Asthma is a breathing problem. Your child may have often
have attacks with wheezing (a high-pitched sound) and
coughing. Your child's chest may feel tight. Asthma
attacks can be triggered by viruses or pollens in the air.
How can I take care of my child?
- Make sure your child uses the asthma inhaler your doctor
prescribed. Teach your child how to use the inhaler.
Here's how you can explain it to your child:
- Shake the medicine.
- Hold the inhaler up straight and 2 inches in
front of your mouth.
- Breathe out all your air.
- Spray when you start to breathe in.
- Breathe in slowly until your lungs are all
filled up with air and the medicine.
- Hold your breath for 10 seconds.
- Use a spacer. If your child is less than 6 years old,
it can help to use a plastic airway spacer.
- Your child may need special treatments. Children less
than 4 years old can't use inhalers. They need to use a
machine for nebulized medicine treatment (nebs). Even
older children get more of the medicine into their lungs
using this machine rather than an inhaler.
- Your child may also need to take medicine by mouth.
Your doctor may prescribe an oral medicine.
- Don't wait to start treatment. Start the inhaler or
medicine when your child first coughs or wheezes.
- Have your child use an inhaler before exercise. Your
child may also cough or wheeze during exercise. Use an
inhaler 10 minutes before your child plans to exercise.
How can I help prevent asthma attacks?
- Make sure your child stays away from triggers like
feather pillows, tobacco smoke, and pets.
- Learn how to dust-proof your child's bedroom.
- Have your child take a bath or shower. This can help if
your child wheezes after being around grass, pollen,
weeds, or animals.
Call your child's doctor right away if:
- Your child has a hard time breathing or the wheezing is
- The wheezing does not get better after the second dose
of inhaled asthma medicine.
Call your child's doctor within 24 hours if:
- The wheezing is not completely gone in 5 days.
- You have other questions or concerns.