From the moment they were born, you knew you’d do anything for them. And now, even after all the poonamis, tantrums and seemingly endless cleaning up after them, you still feel exactly the same way (albeit possibly with an eye twitch).
With that in mind, if your little one is one of the estimated 1 in 9 Aussie kids¹ with asthma, you’ll no doubt know how to help them manage their symptoms. But it’s also important to be aware of what can trigger asthma flare-ups – and how to prevent them from happening.
Some common triggers of asthma in children are1:
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
- Colds, flu and other respiratory infections
- Allergens (house dust mites, pollen, mould, pet dander, etc.)
- Weather (cold air, changes in temperature, thunderstorms)
Now you know some of the different triggers, let’s talk about what you can do to help keep your child as safe as possible!
Good Asthma Control. Aim for good control of your child’s asthma symptoms by ensuring they take their asthma medications as prescribed. For most children this can mean taking preventer medication every day, even when well. Having good control of asthma symptoms means your child will be less likely to react to asthma triggers.
Don’t smoke around them. This goes for parents as well as family and friends who may smoke. For advice on quitting smoking, speak to your GP or pharmacist.
Manage their allergies properly. The nose, upper airways and lungs are all one connected system so if your child suffers from allergies (e.g. hay fever), ensure this is managed well to help prevent asthma flare-ups. Speak to your GP or pharmacist about suitable allergy medications for children and what might be causing your child’s allergies in the first place.
Stay up to date – vaccinate. Reduce the risk of flare-ups from an infection by making sure your child’s vaccinations are up to date, especially the annual flu vaccination.
Exercise is A-OK. Asthma is not a reason for them to miss out on playing sport or being physically active. A child with well-managed asthma should be able to safely exercise and play. If your child gets asthma symptoms during or after exercise, first check that they are using their preventer medicine correctly and taking it every day (if prescribed). See your doctor for a review – they may change your preventer medicine, and/or advise you how to use your medicine before you exercise.
1Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016; National Health Survey: First Results 2014-15. ABS Cat no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS. Accessed online: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/chronic-respiratory-conditions/asthma/data