Creating a Healthier Environment for Your Child
*Do NOT allow smoking in the home. Smoke, including secondhand smoke, is a severe irritant, especially for children.
*If you have pets, restrict them to certain rooms, or to the outdoors; the child's room should be a "pet-free zone"
*Use a damp cloth for household dusting so irritants do not become airborne.
*Air conditioning can help remove airborne irritants, especially pollen. Be sure filters are changed regularly.
*Try to make your home as stress-free as possible. Excitement or anxiety can trigger asthma episodes.
*Make sure that the child knows where his or her medications are kept, and how to take them. If the dosing schedule seems confusing, create a color-coded chart to make it easier to understand.
*Be aware of the child's food allergies and avoid having such foods in your house.
*In the bedroom use pillows with synthetic fillings, washable cotton or synthetic blankets, and allergen-proof covers for the mattress and box spring.
*Prevent dust from collecting in the child's room by removing upholstered furniture, heavy draperies, and thick rugs.
*Encourage frequent handwashing.
Managing an Asthma Episode at Home.
Inspite of your efforts it is still likely that a child will have an asthma episode at home. If so:
*Be aware of warning signs, so you can take action early.
*If possible, remove or reduce the irritant that caused the episode.
*Follow the doctor's orders regarding the proper dose and timing of the child's medications.
*STAY CALM; if you seem nervous or frightened, the child may become frightened too-making the episode worse.
*Encourage the child to remain calm so you can see if the action you've taken is working.
*If you have a peak flow meter, check the child's peak flow rate 5 or 10 minutes after treatment to see if air flow is is improving.
*Contact the doctor if necessary.
* Keep a copy of your asthma action plan posted in a central location where all family members know where it is.
When To Seek Medical Care
Here are some ways to tell whether emergency treatment is needed:
*Wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath get worse, even after medication has had time to work.
*The child may seem to struggle for breath, hunch over, or suck in chest or neck muscles with each attempt to breathe.
*The child has trouble walking or talking.
*The child's lips or fingernails turn gray or blue.
**Call 911 or Go to the nearest ER