If your child has asthma, then you know how scary it can be when they have an asthma attack. When their airways become narrow and inflamed, it’s as if they can’t breathe and as a parent, you may feel powerless to help them feel better until the medication kicks in or the attack passes on its own.
While there isn’t much you can do to stop your child from experiencing these attacks, there are things you can do to help minimize the severity of their symptoms so that they are less prone to anxiety and you can both get more sleep at night.
1) Teach your child relaxation techniques
When it comes to managing asthma, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. One way that many people find relief is through breathing techniques. The techniques reduce shortness of breath by helping to relax and strengthen certain muscles in your chest—including your diaphragm, which controls inhalation and exhalation—while keeping airways open. Learn how relaxation techniques can help control asthma symptoms in children and parents alike. Speak to a pediatrician to find out more about breathing techniques to help relax.
2) Start a Conversation
When people are dealing with something as complex and sensitive as asthma, it’s helpful for them to have an open line of communication. In our homes, we should strive to talk about asthma early on and often. Not only will this enable you and your child/ren to fully understand their diagnosis, but it will also give your child a sense of security in knowing that you are invested in helping them manage their symptoms from a young age.
3) Provide Reassurance
Remind your child that asthma is not a life-threatening condition and he or she will always be able to breathe and take part in normal activities. Point out that asthma symptoms can be treated quickly, if necessary, thanks to modern medicine. By explaining things in a non-emotional way, you’ll help your child feel confident that his or her condition can be controlled.
4) Discuss Plans for Emergencies
Your child’s doctor may recommend that you develop an asthma action plan (AAP) in case of emergencies. The AAP should outline procedures to follow in any emergency, such as what medicine your child takes and when he or she should take it.
In addition, your doctor will likely instruct you on how to use a peak flow meter. A peak flow meter measures how well air moves out of a person’s lungs; during an asthma attack, people usually have trouble moving air out of their lungs quickly enough. Using a peak flow meter can help determine if your child is having an attack and prepare for hospital admission.
5) Set Limits – It is important to set limits, but do so gently and without blame.
If your child has a history of asthma, it’s important that he or she stick to a plan of action, especially during peak months like summer and winter.
You can help reduce their anxiety by encouraging them not to overexert themselves and setting a plan in place so they know what they should do if they start to feel too stressed.
Encourage your child not only to follow their treatment plan but also set realistic goals on how they can limit stress at home or in school.
6) Make it creative and fun
Childhood asthma can be scary and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. If you have children struggling with asthma symptoms, use these tips to help them cope in a healthy and fun way. Most importantly, don’t forget that your child is still a kid. So turn off your worries and play some games, watch a movie or simply enjoy some quality time together as an asthma-fighting family!
7) Act as an Advocate
A person who helps and supports another (such as a child) by using their influence and standing up for them. If your child is dealing with asthma, it can be hard on him or her. Don’t hesitate to speak up if you feel your child isn’t being treated fairly by his or her teachers, neighbours, coaches, and others. Showing your support will make a big difference in how comfortable your son or daughter feels in managing his or her asthma.
8) Learn about allergen avoidance
Allergens play a big role in asthma symptoms. Keeping your child away from allergies can help him or her live a healthier, less-stressed life. If you’re looking for ways to keep allergens out of your home, ask a pediatrician for advice on tests for allergens.
The more you know about your environment and how it affects your health, the better equipped you are to make healthy choices that will have a positive impact on asthma symptoms and overall health.
9) Help your child manage stress
While it’s good for kids to experience a little bit of stress, it’s important that they learn how to manage their stress and anxiety so it doesn’t negatively impact their day-to-day lives. It also happens that stress can aggravate asthma symptoms, so alleviating some of that stress can also improve their health.
10) Create daily routines and stick to them
Asthma symptoms can vary day-to-day, depending on your environment and diet. However, establishing a consistent routine when dealing with asthma can help you be proactive about symptom control. Your daily routine should include
- monitoring your peak flow rate (or tracking lung function),
- taking any medications as prescribed by your doctor,
- keeping track of triggers (like pollen counts or weather changes),
- eating well-balanced meals that are low in sodium and sugar,
- getting plenty of rest and exercise,
- using an air purifier at home if needed, and so on.
Sticking to these routines will help you feel more in control of your condition—and less stressed out about it!
You can also read about ways to overcome or manage asthma attacks that are helpful for parents.
Contact us for a thorough and detailed assessment of your child’s health.