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Your Child's Asthma
What causes childhood asthma?
Researchers continue to learn what causes asthma. It is not fully understood. The
following things play a part:
Genetics. Asthma runs in families.
Allergies. Some allergies are more common in people with asthma. Allergies
also tend to run in families.
Respiratory infections. Infants and young children who have some respiratory infections are more likely to have long-term lung problems.
Environmental factors. Irritants such as pollution and allergens are known
to cause asthma.
asthma symptoms to get worse (flare-ups)?
Triggers are those things that cause asthma symptoms to get worse or cause asthma
flare-ups. Each child has different triggers. A very important part of asthma management
is identifying triggers—and then trying to stay away from them. Asthma triggers
Allergens such as pollen, dust, and pets
Upper respiratory infections such as colds or the flu
Inhaled irritants such as secondhand smoke
Certain weather conditions such as cold air
Exercise or physical activity
Emotions such as crying, laughing, or yelling
Do children outgrow asthma?
How asthma will affect a child throughout his or her lifetime varies.
Many infants and toddlers may wheeze when sick with a viral illness, such as cold
or flu. But most of these children don't get asthma later in life.
Some children with persistent wheezing and asthma get better during the teen
About half of the children who have asthma at a young age seem to outgrow it. But
asthma symptoms may come back later in life.
If my child has asthma, can he or she participate in sports and activities?
Exercise, such as long-distance running, may trigger a flare-up in many children with
asthma. But with correct management, a child with asthma can fully participate in most
sports. Aerobic exercise actually improves airway function by strengthening breathing
muscles. Some tips for exercising with asthma include the following:
Teach your child to breathe through the nose and not the mouth. This helps to
warm and humidify the air before it enters the airways.
During cold weather, have your child wear a scarf over their mouth and nose to
warm inhaled air.
Give your child asthma medicine before exercising, as recommended by your child's
healthcare provider. If your child is not already on controller medicine and
they exercise daily, the provider may recommend daily controller medicine.
Have your child carry their quick-relief inhaler medicine.
Asthma and school
children with asthma may need to take their medicines during school hours. It's
important that you and your child work with the healthcare provider and school staff to
meet your child's asthma treatment goals. Laws about students carrying rescue inhalers
vary by state. Make sure you understand the laws. Make sure that your child knows when
and how to use their inhaler. For the best asthma care for your child at school, the
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology recommends the following:
Meet with teachers and other relevant school staff to tell them about your
child's condition, special needs, and asthma management plan.
Educate school personnel on your child's asthma medicines and how to help during an asthma flare-up.
Ask school staff to treat your child as normal as possible when the asthma is under control.
Before starting a physical education class or a team sport, make sure the teacher or coach understands that exercise can trigger asthma symptoms.
Talk with teachers and school administrators about indoor air quality, allergens, and irritants in the school.
Ensure your child's emotional well-being by reassuring that asthma doesn't have to slow him or her down or make him or her different from other children.
asthma through the years
honest with your child about asthma. Remember, as your child grows, that independence is
an important goal. Children with asthma don't want to be different. But they need
guidance and supervision.
Toddlers. This age group relies completely on the parents. These
children understand little about asthma. The most important factor with this age
group is to try to make medicine time fun. But you must also stress the importance
of taking the medicines. Let children help in any way possible.
School-age. These children are more able to understand asthma. They should
be taught about their medicines and how to stay away from their triggers. They
should begin to watch their own symptoms.
Teens. Often, teens resist taking long-term (chronic) medicines. They also
don't like restrictions and don't want to be different. Involve teens in every
part of asthma management. They should help with goal setting and help decide
which medicines work best. An asthma care contract can be used. It should allow
for teen self-care while allowing overall parental supervision.
Having asthma doesn't mean having less fun than other teens. It is important for
your teen to tell his or her friends about their triggers.
Always talk with your child's healthcare provider if you or your child has questions or
Online Medical Reviewer:
Alan J Blaivas DO
Online Medical Reviewer:
Daphne Pierce-Smith RN MSN CCRC
Online Medical Reviewer:
Tennille Dozier RN BSN RDMS
Date Last Reviewed:
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