Taking steps to reduce your child's exposure to his or her asthma triggers will lessen the possibility of asthma attacks. Steps to help avoid triggers vary depending on what triggers your child's asthma. Here are some things that may help:
- Maintain low humidity at home. If you live in a damp climate, talk to your child's doctor about using a device to keep the air drier (dehumidifier).
- Keep indoor air clean. Have a heating and air conditioning professional check your air conditioning system every year. Change the filters in your furnace and air conditioner according to the manufacturer's instructions. Also consider installing a small-particle filter in your ventilation system.
- Reduce pet dander. If your child is allergic to dander, it's best to avoid pets with fur or feathers. Regularly bathing or grooming your pets also may reduce the amount of dander in your surroundings.
- Use your air conditioner. Air conditioning helps reduce the amount of airborne pollen from trees, grasses and weeds that finds its way indoors. Air conditioning also lowers indoor humidity and can reduce your child's exposure to dust mites. If you don't have air conditioning, try to keep your windows closed during pollen season.
- Keep dust to a minimum. Reduce dust that may aggravate nighttime symptoms by replacing certain items in your bedroom. For example, encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in dust-proof covers. Consider removing carpeting and installing hard flooring, particularly in your child's bedroom. Use washable curtains and blinds.
- Clean regularly. Clean your home at least once a week to remove dust and allergens.
- Reduce your child's exposure to cold air. If your child's asthma is worsened by cold, dry air, wearing a face mask outside can help.
Help your child stay healthy
Staying active and treating other conditions linked to asthma will help keep your child's asthma under control.
March 05, 2013
- Make treatment a regular part of life. If your child has to take daily medication, don't make a big deal out of it — it should be as routine as eating breakfast or brushing teeth.
- Make sure your child gets exercise. Don't let asthma sideline your child. Regular exercise reduces symptoms and is important for your child's overall health. With asthma under control, there should be no limit to your child's physical activity level.
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts your child at risk of other health problems.
- Keep heartburn under control. Acid reflux or severe heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD) may worsen your child's asthma symptoms. He or she may need over-the-counter or prescription medications to control acid reflux.
- Kliegman RM, et al. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2011. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1608/0.html. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Childhood asthma: Tips to remember. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/childhood-asthma.aspx. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Expert panel report 3 (EPR-3): Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of asthma. Bethesda, Md.: National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/asthma/06_sec3_comp3.pdf. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Krystofova J, et al. Bronchial asthma and obesity in childhood. Acta Medica. 2011;54:102.
- Hay WW, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment: Pediatrics. 20th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=14. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Bacherier LB, et al. Diagnosis and management of early asthma in pre-school aged children. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. 2012;130:287.
- Childhood asthma. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/print.cfm?id=8&sub=16&cont=44. Accessed Nov. 27, 2012.
- Young C. Avoiding asthma triggers: A primer for patients. Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 2011;111:S30.
- Bukutu C, et al. Asthma: A review of complementary and alternative therapies. Pediatrics in Review. 2008;29:e44.
- Torres-Llenza V, et al. Use of complementary and alternative medicine in children with asthma. Canadian Respiratory Journal. 2010;17:183.
- Li JTC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 29, 2012.
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