10 Ways You Can Better Deal With Your Child’s Asthma

by Jennifer Mitchell Wilson B.S. Dietetics, Dietitian, Health Professional

When your child has asthma, like mine do, there are always a million things it feels like you have to know to keep them safe. Here are 10 tips that may make it easier for you and your child to deal with asthma life.

Child uses her rescue inhaler.
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1. Always carry a rescue inhaler

This tip is a must because you never know when your child will have an asthma attack. Sometimes it is more obvious but sometimes those attacks come out of nowhere, like simply from laughing too hard! Always keep a rescue inhaler handy!

Writing down oxygen saturation levels in desk calendar.
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2. Keep track of peak flow and oxygen saturation

This has been one of the most helpful tips for our family. If you simply write peak flow and oxygen saturation down on a desk calendar it can help you to keep track of minor changes so you can address them with your doctor as soon as possible.

Little girl with pigtails and red backpack holds her parent's hand.
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3. Put together a contact list

Be sure to give copies of pertinent information to anyone you leave your children with. This sounds like a huge pain … until you need the information and don’t have it. I have a file on my computer that I update and print off every time my girls are going somewhere overnight. Whatever works best for you — just be sure any caregivers have all of the details.

Fingers type on a laptop.
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4. Carry a drug list

It is extremely important to know your medications, doses, and times given in case of an emergency. Include any supplements your child takes as well. If you can’t remember them, especially if your child is on multiple medications, try using an app that will allow you to compile the list on your mobile device so that you always have it.

Mother holds child in her lap as she talks to doctor.
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5. Know how to contact your doctors

Obviously, it isn’t an issue to connect with your doctors during office hours. But you should have a backup plan for how to contact the right doctor or where to take your child when the office is closed. Discuss this with your child’s doctor now, before you need it. You can add those phone numbers to your list of medications so that you don’t forget.

Emergency sign outside of hospital.
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6. Scope out the nearest urgent care center or ER

This one can be a huge deal. Minutes can make a big difference when a child is having difficulty breathing, so if it’s that bad, call 911! For all other issues it can help to scope out the urgent care center or hospital ER that is the best fit with your insurance. If you are in a place that you are not familiar with, preprogram it into your GPS for safe keeping.

Mom takes the temperature of her sick child.
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7. Avoid sick playmates

Always ask if playmates have been sick. Talk with your doctor about how long to avoid them if so. The time frame can range from 24 hours to a few days, depending on what sickness a playmate had. Play dates can always be rescheduled to keep your child healthy.

Mother shows daughter how to properly wash her hands.
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8. Make hand washing and hand sanitizer a rule

General hygiene may seem like common sense, but sometimes it isn’t at all common. Make sure you and your child scrub up with regular (not antibacterial) soap for as long as it takes to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Hand sanitizer is a good option if you are somewhere that won’t allow you to wash your hands. A little bit of cleansing can save a lot of illness.

Bee sits on pollen-filled flower.
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9. Keep an eye on pollen levels

If your child reacts to pollen, mold, or other airborne triggers, you can keep track of those things on apps or by checking the weather. There may be some days where you decide to premedicate your child with a rescue inhaler (as directed by your child’s doctor) or simply have your child play indoors instead.

Mother bundles up child for cold weather.
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10. Be mindful of cold weather

When your child has asthma, cold weather can sometimes be hard on his lungs. Be sure to talk with your doctor about it. You may need to limit his time outside, stay inside below a certain temperature, place a scarf over his nose and mouth, or premedicate with a rescue inhaler before going outside.

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson
Meet Our Writer
Jennifer Mitchell Wilson

Jennifer Mitchell Wilson is a dietitian and mother of three girls. Two of her children have dealt with acid reflux disease, food allergies, migraines, and asthma. She has a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Harding University and has done graduate work in public health and nutrition through Eastern Kentucky University. In addition to writing for HealthCentral, she does patient consults and serves on the Board of Directors for the Pediatric Adolescent Gastroesophageal Reflux Association.