Managing Asthma Flare-Ups

asthma flare-UpsNo one likes to see a loved one suffering, and sometimes the thought of seeing your child with asthma flare-ups is simply too much to bear! There are ways to develop a management plan to assist your child when asthma flare-ups happen. It’s important to know the common triggers of a flare-up as well as symptoms.

Asthma causes the airways of lungs to be inflamed. During a flare-up, the airways become even more swollen causing muscles to tighten. This triggers wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and a tightness in the chest. Obviously, these symptoms are hard to ignore and can be scary for a child. Common asthma triggers vary, but there are common ones we as parents can identify.

Children with asthma often have allergies, triggering asthma flare-ups. Allergens in the home can be house mites, animal dander, dust, and certain molds. If your child suffers from seasonal allergies, they can also cause an asthma flare-up. If you know seasonal allergens like pollen, grass and others may affect your child, it’s helpful to be prepared with a preventative treatment plan. Tobacco smoke can be an irritant as well as air pollution, too.

Keep in mind that some medications prescribed can worsen asthma symptoms. Aspirin and ibuprofen have been known to make symptoms worse in some people with asthma. Triggers like anxiety and stress can potentially increase asthma systems as well. Other triggers include viral and bacterial infections, exposure to cold or dry air, and acid reflux. That’s why it is always important to eat right and get rest when needed. When your child has good health and follows good lifestyle habits, it can help minimize flare-ups and improve your child’s overall quality of life.

There are asthma medications that help prevent flare-ups and control symptoms, reducing airway inflammation and offering your child the comfort he or she deserves. Typically there are two types of medications for asthma. One is for “quick-relief” and the other type is to gain long-term control of the symptoms. Bronchodilators are common inhalers your child can use to offer temporary comfort. Nebulizer machines and a type of medicine called an anticholinergic can also be used for “quick-relief”. If your child suffers from more frequent asthma symptoms, taking long-term, daily medications is preferred. There are several options available. Talk to an allergist or your child’s pediatrician for more information on what’s best in your particular situation.

As previously mentioned, creating an asthma management plan with your doctor or allergist is very important so that your child receives the best care possible. The plan should include the following:

  • Ways to avoid the triggers of an asthma attack
  • Medications that prevent symptoms or are used for “quick-relief”
  • Identifying when and why your child is doing well and when to seek help

This plan creates a partnership between the family and caregivers so when a flare-up does happen, it can be remedied in a quick and comfortable manner. The goal is to minimize the discomfort as well as cut down on the interference of an asthma attack in your child’s daily life.

Because asthma triggers can vary, it’s important to vary your treatment plan. An allergist can help determine what your child may be allergic to, and then how to avoid those allergens. Over time, adjustments may need to be made to ensure the medication’s continued effectiveness. Asthma symptoms and triggers may change as your child grows, so continued communication is important between family members and medical providers.

As always, we look forward to talking with you about your child’s health and answering any questions that you may have, including any concerns you may have about your child’s allergies or asthma. It is our goal to do what’s best for your child’s health! For more information on creating an asthma management plan or to schedule an appointment or physical, please call the Association of Childcare Physicians, LTD. at 618-235-2311.