One of the best ways to help kids manage asthma, besides avoiding triggers, is to make sure they take their medicine as prescribed. The effect of skipping medication will vary depending on what kind it is.
Also called preventive or maintenance medications, controller medicines work over time to reduce airway inflammation and help prevent asthma symptoms from occurring. Kids need to take these medicines regularly, even when feeling fine.
Although skipping a dose appears to have no immediate effect, it allows the lungs to slowly get more irritated, putting a child at increased risk of an asthma flare-up.
When taking controller medicine as directed, kids may be better able to tolerate triggers, such as a cold or tobacco smoke, without getting a flare-up. But if they're not taking the controller medicine correctly, the lungs won't be functioning as well and these irritants can cause an asthma flare-up.
Also called quick-relief or fast-acting medications, rescue medicines work immediately to handle asthma symptoms when they occur. These types of medicines are often inhaled directly into the lungs, where they open up the airways and relieve symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, often within minutes.
If a child doesn't use his or her rescue medications during an asthma flare-up, the airways can continue to tighten until the child ends up in the emergency department. So it's important for kids to always have rescue medication available and to take it as directed by their doctor.
Involving kids in their asthma treatment can help ensure that they take the asthma medications appropriately. Explain how the medicines work and how much your child needs to take. Having an asthma action plan can help both of you learn what you need to know.
It's also important to stress these two key concepts to kids:
You can help by prompting your child to take controller medications and reminding him or her to take rescue medication along when leaving the house. Also make sure that your child doesn't run out of medicine.
Resist the temptation to adjust medication dosages above or below the prescribed amounts. If you're noticing that your child seems to be doing better or worse, talk with the doctor about whether changes are needed. Also talk with the doctor if side effects are a concern, as he or she might be able to adjust the dosage or prescribe a different medication.
Reviewed by: Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, MD
Date reviewed: January 2014
|American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology offers up-to-date information and a find-an-allergist search tool.|
|American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology The ACAAI is an organization of allergists-immunologists and health professionals dedicated to quality patient care. Contact them at: American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology|
85 W. Algonquin Road
Suite 550 Arlington Heights, IL 60005
|American Lung Association The mission of this group is to prevent lung disease and promote lung health. Contact the group at: American Lung Association|
61 Broadway, 6th Floor
NY, NY 10006
|Allergy and Asthma Network/Mothers of Asthmatics (AAN-MA) Through education, advocacy, community outreach, and research, AAN-MA hopes to eliminate suffering and fatalities due to asthma and allergies. AAN-MA offers news, drug recall information, tips, and more for treating allergies and asthma. Call: (800) 878-4403|
|Handling an Asthma Flare-Up Because they can be life threatening, asthma flare-ups can and should be treated at their earliest stages. So it's important to recognize their early warning signs.|
|What's an Asthma Action Plan? An asthma action plan (also called a management plan) is a written plan that you develop with your child's doctor to help control your child's asthma.|
|How Do Asthma Medicines Work? Kids who have asthma need to take medicine. But what kind of medicine do they take and what does it do? Let's find out.|
|My Asthma Inhaler Doesn't Help. What Can I Do? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Asthma Center Asthma means breathing problems. Find out what's going on in the lungs and how to stay healthy, if you have it.|
|Asthma Center Visit our Asthma Center for information and advice on managing and living with asthma.|
|How Can I Deal With My Asthma? Asthma is more common these days than it used to be. The good news is it's also a lot easier to manage and control.|
|What's the Difference Between a Nebulizer and an Inhaler? Inhalers and nebulizers are two different devices used to get rescue or controller medications directly into the lungs. Find out how they work by reading this article.|
|Asthma and Teens The teen years can be rough for kids, and they can be even rougher for teens with asthma. These tips can make parenting a teen with asthma a bit easier.|
|When to Go to the ER if Your Child Has Asthma If your child has asthma, it's important to know when going to the ER is the right choice.|
|Asthma Center Asthma keeps more kids home from school than any other chronic illness. Learn how to help your child manage the condition, stay healthy, and stay in school.|
|What's an Asthma Action Plan? An asthma action plan, or management plan, is a written plan that helps you take control of your asthma. Get the details in this article.|
|Asthma Asthma can cause a person's airways to get swollen and irritated, making it hard to breathe. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Managing Asthma Asthma control can take a little time and energy to master, but it's worth the effort. Learn more about ways to manage your child's asthma.|
|Asthma Basics With the right asthma management plan, families can learn to control symptoms and asthma flare-ups more independently, allowing kids to do just about anything they want.|
|Asthma Millions of teens in the United States have asthma, a lung condition that causes difficulty breathing. Here are the basics on symptoms, triggers, and treatments.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.