Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Editorial Board: Dr.Kamini Silvarajan MD/AAAM

Children Asthma Attack

Asthma is the most common chronic childhood illness.Frequent asthma attacks not only will interfere with a child’s school and play activities, but they can result in emergency situation when breathing problems get out of control.

While the ultimate idea is to avoid frequently going to the hospital under emergency situation, it is also important to find out from the doctor when emergency care is necessary. The doctor should include specific instructions and guidelines, such as peak flow meter readings, in the child’s asthma action plan. Once your child is old enough to understand the disease, teach him or her to recognize these symptoms as well. 

A child who is suffering from any of the following asthma symptoms following may need medical help as soon as possible:-

  1. difficulty speaking
  2. repeated use of rescue medications without relief of symptoms
  3. visible retractions(an abnormal sucking in of the chest during breathing, indicating that the child is working too hard to breathe) when the child breathes (you’re able to see the space between the child’s ribs and/or at the base of the neck retract as he inhales)
  4. bluish or gray lips and/or fingernails
Managing a child’s asthma and controlling it may not lead to an emergency situation. 

The tips below can help you control your child’s asthma so that it doesn’t interfere with his or her daily activities: 

  1. Strictly follow the Asthma Action Plan - Health medical care providers or the doctor should provide a written action plan that includes information on the child’s daily treatment, as well as what asthma symptoms to be on the lookout for and what to do when the child has an asthma attack.
  2. Include the Child In Understanding - Make sure (if a child can understand) what the asthma action plan is and why it’s important to follow it. Help the child understand that not following the plan could result in a flare-up of asthma symptoms and emergency care.
  3. Identify the Signs of an Asthma Attack - Coughing, clearing of the throat, breathing difficulties and chest tightness are all signs of an asthma attack in kids. Also, hyperactivity(more active than normal; “a hyperactive child”), fatigue and sleep disturbances are too. Not every flare-up is the same and your child may react differently than you do, if you also have asthma. Some children cough at night; others cough after exercise. Become familiar with your child’s asthma and note what he or she is doing just before an attack. 
  4. Using a peak flow meter at home can help determine whether a flare-up is about to happen. The doctor can provide information on monitoring the range of readings.
  5. Avoid Common Asthma Triggers.These include dust, pets, mold, cold air, smoke, physical activity and infections. 
Always Make Sure Your Child’s Rescue Medications are handy Be sure to inform all your child’s teachers, coaches, friends and babysitters of the signs of an asthma attack, the child’s asthma action plan, and the proper use of rescue medications. 

Also note:

  1. Kids do have the right to carry their rescue inhaler in most states and most school districts now.
  2. Educate Your Child the Importance Of Asthma Controller Medications
  3. This is essential, even if he or she is not experiencing any asthma symptoms. When medications are not taken as prescribed, asthma triggers can cause inflammation of the lungs, which reduces lung function and increases the possibility of attacks. Be sure that all health caretakers are also well informed of the child’s asthma action plan as it pertains to controller medications.
  4. Establish a Trusting Relationship With Your Child’s Doctor
  5. Call the doctor when symptoms of a flare-up appear. The doctor can help keep the symptoms from becoming worse and may be able to help your child avoid an emergency treatment or admission to the hospital.

What to do in an Emergency

  1. Although we sometimes well manage asthma, there are times when emergency treatment and admission may be unavoidable. Planning ahead for such an emergency can be helpful.
  2. Know where the nearest emergency room is and find out if there is a pediatric ER. List the address and phone number of the hospital’s ER* in the child’s action plan.
  3. Should you need to go to the ER*, take along a copy of the child’s asthma action plan, or a note with the names and dosages of any medications the child is currently taking.
  4. Arrange for a family member or friend to babysit other children in an emergency. But even if no one is available, don’t put off going to the ER*.

ER* – Emergency Room: a room in a hospital or clinic staffed and equipped to provide emergency care to persons requiring immediate medical treatment like asthma.