Asthma in children - what to ask your doctor
Asthma is a problem with the airways that bring oxygen to your lungs. A child with asthma may not feel symptoms all the time. But when an asthma attack happens, it becomes hard for air to pass through the airways. The symptoms are:
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath
Below are some questions you may want to ask your health care provider to help you take care of your child's asthma.
Video: Asthma - children
What to ask your doctor about asthma - child
Is my child taking asthma medicines the right way?
- What medicines should my child take every day (called controller drugs)? What should I do if my child misses a day?
- Which medicines should my child take when they are short of breath (called rescue drugs)? Is it OK to use these rescue drugs every day?
- What are the side effects of these medicines? For what side effects should I call the doctor?
- How will I know when the inhalers are getting empty? Is my child using the inhaler the right way? Should my child be using a spacer?
What are some signs that a child's asthma is getting worse and that I need to call the doctor? What should I do when my child feels short of breath?
What shots or vaccinations does my child need?
How do I find out when smog or pollution is worse?
What sort of changes should I make around the home?
- Can we have a pet? In the house or outside? How about in the bedroom?
- Is it OK for anyone to smoke in the house? How about if my child is not in the house when someone is smoking?
- Is it OK for me to clean and vacuum when my child is in the house?
- Is it OK to have carpets in the house?
- What type of furniture is best to have?
- How do I get rid of dust and mold in the house? Do I need to cover my child's bed or pillows?
- Can my child have stuffed animals?
- How do I know if I have cockroaches in my home? How do I get rid of them?
- Can I have a fire in my fireplace or a wood-burning stove?
What does my child's school or daycare need to know about my child's asthma?
- Do I need to have an asthma plan for the school?
- How can I make sure my child can use the medicines at school?
- Can my child participate fully in gym class at school?
What types of exercises or activities are better for a child with asthma to do?
- Are there times when my child should avoid being outside?
- Are there things that I can do before my child starts exercising?
Does my child need tests or treatments for allergies? What should I do when I know my child will be around something that triggers their asthma?
What type of arrangements do I need to make when we are planning to travel?
- What medicines should I bring? How do we get refills?
- Who should I call if my child's asthma gets worse?
Dunn NA, Neff LA, Maurer DM. A stepwise approach to pediatric asthma. J Fam Pract. 2017;66(5):280-286. PMID: 28459888 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28459888/.
Jackson DJ, Lemanske RF, Bacharier LB. Management of asthma in infants and children. In: Burks AW, Holgate ST, O'Hehir RE, et al, eds. Middleton's Allergy Principles and Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 50.
Lieu AH, Spahn AD. Sicherer SH. Childhood asthma. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap169.