Asthma is a very common condition among children and adolescents that can affect individuals from infancy through adulthood.
Uncontrolled asthma may affect lung function and limit a child’s ability to participate in activities. In fact, asthma flare ups cause children to miss more school days than all other childhood conditions and are the most common reason for children visiting the emergency room. However, with proper education and treatment, children with asthma can reach their full potential. With this in mind, Oregon Pediatrics strives to teach families how to manage asthma and provide optimal care for children with asthma.
What is asthma?
Asthma affects the lungs by causing inflammation, muscle tightness (bronchoconstriction), and production of thick mucus. These factors make it difficult for air to properly move through the lungs. As a result, children with asthma may experience coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.
I think my child has asthma. What should I do now?
If you think your child has asthma, please call our office for an appointment. There are different types of asthma, and the severity can range from mild to severe. As such, it is important that each child with asthma symptoms be evaluated by a medical provider.
What should I expect from my health care provider?
Your medical provider may ask questions about your family history, perform a physical exam, and order a pulmonary function test (PFT) to assess how well your child’s lungs are working. PFT is a simple test with immediate results that can be done in our office. If the diagnosis of asthma is made, your child may be given medications that will need to be taken every day or only when needed, depending on the severity of her asthma. Your medical provider will help you to understand asthma so that you will feel confident in caring for your child.
What treatments are available for asthma?
The goal of asthma medications is to prevent or reduce airway narrowing. Every child with asthma is different and requires an individualized treatment plan. There are two main categories of asthma medications; quick-relief medications such as albuterol that stop asthma flare-ups and symptoms when they occur, and controller medications that are used daily to prevent asthma symptoms.
Asthma medications are safe and effective when taken as prescribed. Please call our office if you have any questions about your child’s asthma management plan.
What can I do to help my child with asthma?
There are many ways to participate in the care of your child’s asthma to increase the likelihood of success. First, families should become educated on the condition and feel comfortable with their child’s asthma management plan. In addition, many children with asthma have certain triggers that lead to asthma flare-ups. Common triggers include allergens, weather changes, exercise, and common colds. It is important for parents to learn which triggers can cause flare-ups and help their child avoid those triggers. While some triggers are unavoidable, this information can help your medical provider establish a more individualized treatment plan for your child.
It is recommended that children with asthma be evaluated by a medical provider even when they are well. Additionally, a yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all children with asthma. Please contact our office to discuss when your child should be seen.