Easing your child's asthma
Start by working with your child's allergist to identify his or her unique asthma triggers and ways to avoid them.
Common asthma triggers include:
- Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, wood-burning stoves and campfires,
- Pet dander from furry or feathered animals,
- Cockroaches or cockroach allergen,
- Dust mites in home furnishings and stuffed toys,
- Pollen and outdoor pollution,
- Odors/fragrances from household products to perfumes,
- Weather extremes,
- Stress and other emotions,
- Some foods.
Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous. Keep a smoke-free home and car, and avoid other smokers. If you smoke, quit.
Almost any pet can pose a problem. Talk to your child's allergist before buying a pet. If you already have one, ask how to limit triggers, like keeping it out of his or her bedroom.
Thorough cleaning can help with triggers ranging from mold to cockroaches to dust mites living in bedding, stuffed animals and carpeting. Be alert to outdoor air pollution and indoor odors from paint, cleaning products and fragrances. Exercise, everyday stress and even changes in the weather can bring on symptoms.
A child's asthma action plan should include:
- A list of triggers to avoid,
- Easily understood prescription drug instructions,
- Emergency contact information for you and all your child's health care providers,
- Steps to take as soon as symptoms start,
- Steps to take in a breathing emergency.
Understanding asthma will help ease even a young child's fears.
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