Approximately 5.5 million children under the age of 18 currently suffer from asthma. That’s 7.7 percent of the child population in the U.S.
Is your child part of this group? Have you recently found out about their condition? Have you known for a long time but feel that traditional treatments aren’t helping them?
No matter what situation you’re in, we’re here to help. Explained below is everything parents need to know about pediatric asthma treatment.
Pediatric Asthma Symptoms
What does pediatric asthma look like? Children with asthma often experience the following symptoms:
- Frequent coughing that gets worse when they have a viral or respiratory infection infection
- Coughing that gets worse with exercise or cold air exposure
- Coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath that occurs when they sleep
- A wheezing or whistling sound that occurs when they exhale
- General shortness of breath throughout the day
- Chest tightness or congestion
- Difficulty sleeping due to shortness of breath, wheezing, or coughing
- Fatigue due to poor sleep
Any child can develop asthma. Some are more prone to it than others, though.
This includes those whose parents struggle with asthma, as well as those who struggle with allergies or experienced many airway infections at a young age. Kids who are surrounded by environmental asthma triggers, such as cigarette smoke or severe air pollution, are also more likely to suffer from asthma.
Pediatric Asthma Treatment Options
When it comes to treating pediatric asthma, there’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all approach. There are lots of different options that might work for your child, including the following:
There are quite a few long-term asthma medications that can be effective for children. Inhaled corticosteroids are among the most popular, along with combination inhalers. Combination inhalers combine corticosteroids with beta-agonists.
In addition to inhaled medications, physicians might also recommend oral medications like Leukotriene modifiers and Theophylline. Leukotriene modifiers help to prevent asthma symptoms, and Theophylline helps to keep airways open.
In addition to long-term medications, parents also ought to keep some quick-relief medications at the ready.
Short-acting beta-agonists are one of the most popular options. This inhaled bronchodilator helps to relieve asthma attack symptoms right away.
Oral corticosteroids like prednisone can also be helpful in emergency situations. You can shop here for them.
For children whose asthma symptoms get triggered by allergies, it’s important to have allergy remedies on hand, too.
Oral and nasal spray antihistamines can be very helpful to kids with asthma. Some children with severe asthma may also benefit from allergy shots, especially during seasons when there are more allergens in the air.
Controlling Asthma Triggers
It’s helpful to have medication readily available to access in the event that an asthma attack occurs. Another powerful treatment approach, though, is to take steps to identify and control asthma triggers.
For example, if a parent finds that dust buildup tends to exacerbate symptoms or cause an asthma attack, they should take steps to keep their home as dust-free as possible.
Beyond dusting, this may also mean changing air conditioner and furnace filters on a regular basis and using an air filter to the air inside the home clean.
Keeping kids away from common triggers like cigarette smoke is a smart move, too. Parents may want to encourage them to stay inside when air quality is poor as well.
Some children respond very well to certain breathing exercises when they’re dealing with an asthma attack. Structured breathing techniques, such as those taught in yoga classes or meditation classes, can help kids to stay calm and avoid exacerbating their symptoms.
Other relaxation techniques can be helpful as well. For example, practices like progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, or even hypnosis can help some kids to handle symptoms of an asthma attack with more ease.
Relaxation and breathing exercises may not serve as a replacement for traditional medications. They can be useful complements to these other treatments, though, and may minimize the need for them when symptoms are on the milder side.
Some herbal remedies may have some benefits to kids with asthma as well.
More research is needed before physicians can confidently recommend them to their patients. In some cases, though, parents have seen improvements when they give their child the following supplements:
- Black seed
- Fish oil
These supplements can be beneficial for overall health and strengthening the immune system, so they can definitely be part of a child’s regular supplement routine. Including them on a consistent basis may help to quell asthma symptoms.
As with the other alternative approaches listed above, though, they should not act as a stand-in for other, more thoroughly tested medications and lifestyle change protocols.
How Parents Can Support Kids with Asthma
There are also a lot of steps you can take as a parent to support your child beyond medications and herbal remedies. The following are some of the most useful:
- Building treatment into everyday life
- Writing an asthma action plan for teachers, babysitters, and coaches
- Focusing on all your child is still able to do, rather than their limitations
- Staying calm when symptoms appear
It can also help when parents are able to connect with other parents whose children suffer from asthma. This helps them to create a support network, and it gives their children more playmates who understand their condition.
Get Help for Your Child Today
Learning that your child suffers from asthma can be devastating. As a parent, you never want your child’s life to be any harder than it has to be.
The good news, though, is that there are many different pediatric asthma treatment options you can try to help your child manage their symptoms and live a healthy, happy life.
Talk to your child’s doctor today about giving one (or more) of these treatment options a try. With so many to choose from, you’ll likely be able to find and approach that works for them before you know it.
Do you want to learn more about caring for a child with asthma (or any other kind of health condition)? If so, check out the Parenting section of our site today for additional tips.