Raising a child with asthma is no easy endeavor. Being that asthma is the most common chronic disease among children, many parents out there find themselves experiencing considerable worry about this condition. From constantly watching for symptoms and remembering to administer medications, and trying to creating a sense of normalcy while balancing risks, there's a lot to manage.
What's more, recent research also suggests that increased parental stress is associated with exacerbated asthma symptoms in children. For children that require daily medication, integrating that into the day becomes important for their health, and peace of mind for the whole family.
Establishing an Asthma Regimen
Establishing an asthma regimen within a child's current routine can be one of the best ways to reduce day-to-day stress over medication. When it comes to preventative asthma medications, consistency is also key to controlling symptoms over time.
- Ideally, plan the regimen at a set time daily. Things like recurring daily phone alerts can prove helpful for reminders.
- Another way to keep your child's asthma regimen consistent is to associate with an already-established routine, perhaps like brushing teeth or immediately upon waking. Try to pair with a task that happens daily, even on weekends and during travel. This can help maintain a sense of normalcy for kids, particularly if it ties into an already familiar part of their day.
- Keep the medication in the place where it will be used, ideally in a visible and hard- to-miss location.
- The regimen might also be followed up with a quick check to make sure reliever or emergency medications are in their backpacks, if needed. Keep them in the same place so they are always handy and easy to find.
- Use praise when they remember the new step in their routine without prompting -- this may help support a sense of autonomy and help solidify the habit over time.
- Setting reminders on smartphones or calendars several days ahead of prescription refill dates can also help you stay prepared.
- Keep an asthma diary to stay on track. Parents can track administered medications and note any symptoms observed in a dedicated notepad. This can be useful for both establishing an asthma regimen and monitoring any issues. Older school age children can keep a diary during the day, too, or make it part of the routine to discuss anything out of the ordinary.
Planning for Emergency Care
A significant part of parental stress with asthma stems from the desire to protect kids and to constantly monitor them, especially when apart. One way to help moderate this concern is to create awareness of emergency warning signs. Both caregivers and children should be aware of warning signs like gasping for air, extremely deep breaths in, trouble speaking, and persistent coughing or wheezing.
These symptoms could signal the need for a quick relief medication or further care, so practice with your child what to do and how to get help at school or elsewhere. If these symptoms happen often or change in severity/frequency, bring it up to your child's medical provider.