This is the ninth post of our mini-series about asthma based on our patient booklet “Fast Facts for Patients and their Supporters: Asthma”. Here, we focus on asthma in children.
What Do I Do If I Suspect My Child Has Asthma?
Make an appointment with your doctor. Take along a note of the symptoms you are concerned about and when and where they happen (for example, morning/night, after exercise, outside/inside, when playing with the dog). A video or audio recording of your child’s wheeze or cough on your phone can be useful.
What Tests Will My Child Need?
The tests for asthma in children are the same as the tests in adults but be aware that your child may be too young for some. This means that you may not get a definite diagnosis of asthma straight away and your child may have ‘suspected asthma’ until it can be confirmed. Your child’s response to treatment will help with the diagnosis.
What Treatment Will My Child Receive?
Your doctor may try some treatments to see if they reduce your child’s symptoms. The medications are the same as those used to treat adults, but the doses may be different. Spacers with face masks can be helpful for babies or young children who have difficulty using an ordinary spacer with a mouthpiece. Ask your doctor or asthma nurse about these and how you can help your child to use one.
What Does My Child’s School Need to Know?
Provide the school with a copy of your child’s Action Plan so that they are aware of your child’s needs (for example, avoiding certain triggers, what preventers they need to take and when). Most schools now have training for staff to manage medical issues such as serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and asthma.
What Else Can I Do?
If you smoke cigarettes or drugs or are likely to expose a child with asthma to smoke, talk to your doctor about quitting. There is lots of support available to help you stop.
Please check out the previous and the next post of our series here:
Information based on Fast Facts for Patients and their Supporters: Asthma (Karger, 2020).