There are many things you worry about when your child is diagnosed with asthma. It's so much different than an adult because most children under 12 can't completely articulate what they are feeling. So, one of the first steps in good asthma control (and alleviating some of your worry) is to help your child describe what they are feeling and understand their triggers.
In younger children, it can help to teach them to explain their feelings and talk about their condition. Some of the terms associated with asthma are not words that children would learn otherwise. Helping them understand the terms, what they mean, and what they feel like can give them added tools in describing their own breathing issues.
If you were to ask a five year old if they are "wheezing" without explaining what wheezing means you are likely to get a blank stare. If you have done the work ahead of time and explained it to your child then they have an added advantage in explaining their condition. We talked with our girls about how wheezing can feel like a booboo, tightness or pain in the chest and may also make a noise like a whistle.
We were also diligent in teaching our girls to avoid their asthma triggers. For one of our girls that meant learning what foods she was allergic to and teaching her not to eat anything that had not been pre-approved by mom or dad. Reminding the girls to avoid being around smoke, explaining why we stay inside on high pollen days, and how to cover the mouth and nose with a scarf on bitterly cold days also helped them better understand their own triggers.
There are several good online resources for explaining asthma to kids. The American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology has some great tools for kids with asthma.
Dusty and his Asthma Triggers Fun Book by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a cute eight-page activity book that helps younger kids understand triggers. The book is also available En Espanol.
Our insurance company Cigna sent us a book about Ellie the Elephant with asthma. That title especially caught the attention of my daughter Ella! Ask your insurance company for any wellness tools they have to help control your child's symptoms. You may also want to check the public library for additional resources as well.
Here are a few more online resources for caregivers and children with asthma:
- Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Podcast: Asthma Get The Facts
- EPA's Kid's Air Now teaches kids how to decide when air quality is good for outside play and when to stay inside.
Published On: August 25, 2014