Tips For Raising A Child With Asthma
So you watched as your child struggled for air and felt helpless. You listened as the Doctor said the words, “Your child has asthma.” Now what do you do? Thankfully for you asthma wisdom and resources have improved impressively since the 1970s and 80s. I was in JSS3 when I was diagnosed with Asthma. It was on 1st May 2007. It was really tough. I suffered night and day, missed school, was admitted in the hospital, took different medications and injections. The pain was literally unbearable.
One thing I noticed back then was that, as I suffered, my whole family suffered as well. Running here and there to different pharmacies to get medications for me, receiving calls from the school sick bay that I’ve been rushed to the hospital etc.
So you, as an asthma mum, dad or guardian, have some work to do. With your help, your guidance, your child can lead a normal, active life just like I’ve learnt to manage mine in the last 10 years.
So, that in mind, here is a guide to raising an asthmatic child.
- Asthma wisdom: You need to know more than the doctor about asthma. It’s that simple. By reading medical articles, asking questions from doctors, you are taking the most important step to good asthma management. You must read as much about asthma as you can possibly absorb. You at least should know the asthma basics, which is that asthma has two components: bronchospasm and inflammation. Th former is when the passages in the lungs become narrowed, trapping air in the lungs, and making it hard to breath. The latter is a chronic reddening or swelling of the air passages in the lungs. If this is not treated it can lead to worsening bronchospasm.
- Asthma doctor: Sure your child has already been seeing a doctor, you now need to make sure this is the best person to help you manage your child’s asthma. A good asthma doctor will prescribe the best meds for your child, and will listen to recommendations you have and work with you in managing your child’s asthma.
- Asthma triggers: For every asthmatic there are many different things that trigger an asthma attack. You must be very observant and work with your child’s pediatrician to learn what your child’s triggers are and how to help him avoid them or deal with them. My triggers are dust, smoke, cockroaches, insecticide, rainfall and petrol.
- Early Warning Signs: A neat thing about asthma is it has early warning signs that it is about to come about. If you are vigilant (and well educated), you should be able to pick up on these early signs and treat them.
- Late Warning Signs: A challenge in managing a child’s asthma is they may be unaware they are having asthma symptoms. They might be short-of-breath and just think it’s normal. Or they may be embarrased. Therefore, it is your job to know the late warning signs of asthma and treat them. If I had reported the early signs I experienced, like wheezing and shortness of breath, my asthma would probably not be as chronic as it is now.
- Involve other people: Basically, every single person involved in the care of your child should be aware that your child has asthma and how to spot the early and late signs of asthma. I always have friends close-by who keep an inhaler permanently with them. This includes teachers, principals, grandparents, uncles, and even brothers and sisters.
- Rescue Medicine: Rescue inhalers are used to treat bronchospasm. They relax the lungs, open the airways, and often cause instant relief. You must make sure your child’s rescue medicine is handy wherever your child is, including home, school, daycare, vacation, etc.
- Controller (Preventative) Medicine: When your child is exposed to a trigger, this can irritate already sensitive airways due to chronic inflammation. Therefore, if your child has more than the “occasional” asthma attack, a good doctor will recommend your child use an inhaled corticosteroid.
Finally, you need to be always be vigilant: To the best of your ability, try to stay in tune with your child. By following this guide to the best of your ability you will be helping your child lead a normal, active life. And when he does have trouble breathing, you or other adults in your child’s life will know exactly what to do.