As the outside air begins to cool, asthma care and staying on track with medications becomes even more important. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), asthma is the leading pediatric chronic illness in the United States and one of the most common causes of school absenteeism. It is a disease of airway inflammation and constriction and while there is no cure, it can be controlled.
To maximize control, properly use medications (if prescribed) and avoid asthma triggers. Two of the biggest challenges faced by health care providers in treating children with asthma are medication compliance and exposure to conditions that trigger the disease.
A child may be prescribed appropriate medications to control symptoms, but the meds are often not taken as directed. There are two main categories of asthma medicine – controllers and rescue, or relievers. Both types of medication are equally important and you cannot properly manage your child’s asthma without both of them.
Asthma flair-ups can be triggered by allergens (i.e.: pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, etc.), irritants (i.e. cigarette smoke, pollution, emotions, weather changes, etc.) or both. The winter season brings with it a number of irritants and allergens to your child’s environment, such as:
Joan Upperman RN, BSN, AE-C, is the asthma coordinator at Mercy Children’s Hospital. For more information, please visit www.mercychildrens.net.