Asthma Patient Resources and Education
To help patients keep their asthma under control, we spend a good portion of time educating and preparing families. We emphasize the importance of daily asthma management, and prepare patients and families for potential emergency situations.
Every visit, we practice the correct way to take each medication so that you and your child are an expert about the best possible way to take asthma medication. Inhalers must be taken correctly or they will not work. Bring all of your inhalers to each visit so they can be checked by your asthma care team.
Medication side effects from asthma medications are uncommon and usually minor and easily fixed. Our team will spend all of the time you need in person or by phone to address any concerns you may have about your child’s asthma medications.
It’s important to learn how to identify asthma triggers. This helps the child avoid them when possible, or be prepared to respond if that’s not possible.
Common asthma triggers include:
- Cold viruses: The most common trigger for asthma flare-ups. These are difficult to avoid outside of good hygiene, so families should be prepared to respond appropriately.
- Tobacco and other smoke: smoke in the air or even the smell of smoke in the air or on clothing or furniture is an irritant that makes asthma symptoms worse and increases the risk of asthma attacks. Tobacco smoke also makes many asthma medications less effective. Keep your child away from all smoke. If anyone in the family is a smoker then the absolutely best thing they can do for their health is to quit. Learn more about our smoking cessation program.
- Allergens: Most kids with asthma have allergies that can be seasonal or year-round. By testing for allergies, you can try to reduce exposures.
- Smells and chemicals: Some children are very sensitive to certain smells and chemicals, and most are sensitive to cigarette smoke and other air pollutants. Families can monitor air quality reports, so when levels are poor exposure can be limited.
- Stress and intense emotions: Both positive and negative stress and emotions can trigger asthma for some people.
- Medications: Some children have asthma that is sensitive to certain medications such as aspirin or rarely ibuprofen. Tylenol (acetaminophen) is NOT a problem for children with asthma.
Healthy Habits to Help Your Child’s Asthma
- Sleep: the right amount of sleep is important for your child’s overall health, including their asthma. If your child is not sleeping well or having signs of sleep apnea, our team will help you with this problem.
- Activity and play: Many people think they should limit their child’s play and exercise, but nothing could be further from the truth. Exercise is a very important part of your child’s health. All children should get at least one hour of moderate to strenuous activity each day to stay strong and healthy and prevent excessive weight gain. Low fitness and excessive weight gain can be especially bad for children with asthma. Unless your child is having an asthma attack, then it is safe for them to exercise and play sports. If your child is having difficulty with asthma symptoms when they try to exercise, then we will find a solution to make this better.
- Nutrition: Healthy eating and keeping a healthy weight is especially important for children with asthma. Vitamin D pills may be helpful for some children with asthma. Some asthma children have food allergies or eosinophilic esophagitis and have to avoid certain foods. Our asthma team can provide expert healthy eating and diet guidance at your request.
- Flu shot (influenza vaccine) is recommended every fall unless your child has had a severe allergic reaction to the flu shot in the past. Children with asthma are high risk for complications if they catch influenza virus.
Read more about some of the children who have been helped by the asthma program at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital. Despite suffering from asthma, these children and their families have learned to take control of their asthma and manage their symptoms, allowing them to live a full and happy life.