If your child is one of the 1 in 9 Aussie kids1 with asthma, you will already know that asthma is one of the main causes of hospitalisations in children. It’s also one of the most common reasons for kids to see doctors and/or miss school.
Yes, an asthma diagnosis can be pretty distressing and although asthma cannot be cured, for most children it can be well controlled by following a daily management plan2.
If your child’s asthma is well controlled, they should only have occasional asthma symptoms and should have the ability to play sport (or just run around and have fun).
The aim of good asthma management is to ensure that children can lead a normal healthy life, while taking only as much medication as is needed to keep them well and avoid asthma flare-ups. Managing asthma properly can help to:
- Reduce asthma flare-ups or attacks
- Keep symptoms under control
- Keep lungs as healthy as possible
- Ensure asthma isn’t interfering with school and other activities
So, what does ‘managing asthma properly’ involve?
First up, have a chat with your GP – they’ll work with you on developing a written Asthma Action Plan which will outline the medication(s) your child should be taking, when they should be taking them and what doses. For most people with asthma, two types of medication are needed; preventers and relievers.
Preventers? Relievers? Um… what?
If a preventer is prescribed for your child, this should be taken every day for ongoing management of asthma. Regularly using preventers is important as they reduce the inflammation in the airways, which reduces the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms and the risk of your child experiencing future flare-ups.
Blue/grey relievers are used to help provide short-term relief of asthma symptoms. However, they don’t treat the underlying problem of airway inflammation and excess mucus production. If your child is using their reliever more than two days a week it may mean their asthma is not under good control.
Whether your little one’s using preventer and/or reliever medication that comes in the form of a puffer, it’ll work best when used with a spacer (I know, I know – more jargon).
To put it simply, a spacer is a specially-designed clear plastic tube-like thing that makes puffers easier to use and helps the medication get deeper into the lungs. Generally, using a spacer with a puffer is much better than using a puffer alone and all children should use a spacer to take their medicine, for both reliever and preventer puffers.
If you’re still a bit lost on it all (and that’s completely understandable!), your GP or pharmacist can help. They’ll help you understand what these medications do and show you and your child the proper way to use them.
Oh, and don’t forget to provide a labelled blue/grey reliever medication and a spacers at school with a copy of your child’s Asthma Care Plan for their teachers and other staff. If you need help preparing these, speak to a TerryWhite Chemmart pharmacist or your GP.
Also, download a copy of the Asthma Care Plan for your child’s school and take this to your GP to complete. Don’t forget to visit your TerryWhite Chemmart Pharmacy for your asthma medications and spacers, ready for school.
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