ARTICLES

November 16, 2020

Asthma and Your Child

Asthma is common and treatable. 1 in 4 children will be diagnosed with asthma at some time during childhood. 

 

It’s important to know: 

  • How to recognise an asthma episode or asthma symptoms

  • What medications to give and when to give them 

  • That your asthma plan is there to help you and others looking after your child.

 

WHEEZE

Wheezing is very common in the first few years of life but not all children with wheeze will go on to develop asthma. While the causes of wheeze can be different, the treatment is often the same.

Other names you might hear asthma or wheeze called are: 

  • Viral induced wheeze

  • Preschool wheeze 

  • Childhood asthma or

  • Ventolin responsive wheeze.

 

WHAT IS ASTHMA?

  • Asthma symptoms are caused by narrowing of the small air passages in the lungs.

  • We don’t have a test to diagnose asthma.

  • Diagnosis is based on your child's pattern of breathing. 

 

TRIGGERS

  • Cold or viral infection 

  • Exercise

  • Change in weather/windy conditions

  • Air pollution/smoke

  • Pollens, house dust mites, pets

  • Cigarette smoke. 

 

*It is very helpful to work out what triggers your child's asthma in order to prevent asthma episodes.

 

SYMPTOMS OR SIGNS 

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Wheezing

  • Coughing.

 

Signs of a severe episode include:

  • Your child may become blue around the lips or

  • be exhausted, floppy and

  • gasp for air.

 

TREATMENT

Asthma is treatable.

  • Two main types of medication are used in asthma – relievers and preventers

  • Most asthma medication is given via an inhaler, or puffer.

RELIEVER MEDICATIONS

  •  Relievers help open the airways to make it easier to breathe and work within minutes. 

The most common reliever is salbutamol (Ventolin) – a blue puffer.

 

PREVENTER MEDICATIONS

  • Preventer medications help to prevent episodes of asthma from happening by reducing the swelling and inflammation in the airways. 

  • These need to be prescribed by a Doctor and are given EVERY DAY for them to work

  • Preventers come in 2 forms – inhalers and tablets.

 

Examples of common Inhaled relievers include fluticasone (flixotide) or budesonide (pulmicort)

Tablet form- Montelukast (singulair)

 

HOW TO GIVE ASTHMA MEDICATION 

  • All puffers for children should be given via a spacer. This ensures more of the medication gets into the lungs where it is needed.

  • Children age < 4 yrs use spacer and mask with puffer.

  • Children > age 4 use spacer with puffer.

  • Please watch the short video of your child’s age group to see how to best use a puffer and spacer +/- mask (link in resources below). 

 

ASTHMA ACTION PLAN (AAP)

  • Each child who is diagnosed with asthma should have a personalised Asthma Action Plan. 

  • This is to guide you or your child's carer when your child is having an asthma episode. 

  • It is important to have your child's AAP on the fridge or in a spot readily available.

  • All people who care for your child should understand your child's asthma and be able to follow your child's AAP.

 

SEVERE EPISODE

Call 000 and follow asthma first aid or 4 by 4 by 4 using reliever medication.

Asthma First Aid:

  • Sit the child up, be calm and reassuring, do not leave them alone.

  • Shake the puffer, put one puff into the spacer.

  • Take 4 breaths from the spacer and repeat until 4 puffs have been taken. 

  • Remember shake, 1 puff, 4 breaths.

  • Wait 4 minutes.

  • Keep giving 4 separate puffs if there is no improvement.

  • Be guided by emergency assistance until the ambulance arrives.

Resources:

https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Asthma/

https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/Asthma_Use_of_spacers/

https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/fact_sheets/asthma-videos/

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma-emergency-first-aid

https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/

PODCAST Cough, croup and wheeze https://www.rch.org.au/kidsinfo/Podcast/

Please remember to seek help any time you feel you need to, particularly during this COVID-19 Pandemic. 

 

Stay well

 

Dr Lexi 

xxx

 

Disclaimer: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion and consultation with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. Mama You've Got This and Dr Lexi Frydenberg accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in this information. ​

Mama You've Got This

Dr Lexi Frydenberg
Paediatrician

© 2019 by MAMA YOU'VE GOT THIS. Website created by Tear it up design. Mama You've Got This photography: Bec Walton Photographer, Born On A Wednesday, Picos Media, Vanessa Fernandez. Videography by Cameron Galea Productions