Managing your child's asthma involves keeping track of asthma medicines, peak flow readings, and doctor appointments. It's no small feat. But by applying the same organizational strategies you already use as a parent—and maybe learning a few new ones—you can streamline the process. These tips will help you get your child's asthma management down to a doable routine.
Ask your child's health care provider for an asthma action plan.
This written plan outlines how to tell when your child's asthma is getting worse, when and how to use asthma medicines, and when to seek immediate help. With this plan in hand, you won't waste time figuring out what to do next. If you don't already have a written plan, download the American Lung Association's asthma action plan form, and work with your child's health care provider to get it filled out.
Make it easy to remember your child's daily medication.
Long-term control medicines are used daily to help keep asthma symptoms from flaring up. If your child takes this type of medicine, the tips below can help you remember it every day:
- Add it to another activity your child already does at a consistent time each day. For example, your child might take it before a meal or after brushing his or her teeth.
- Post a visual reminder, such as a sticky note on the fridge or medicine cabinet.
- Set an alarm on your phone or clock.
Create a written chart or install an asthma management app on your phone to keep track of each dose your child takes. If you choose to use an app, ask your child's health care provider to recommend one.
Give yourself a nudge to remember peak flow monitoring.
A peak flow meter is a handheld device that some kids use to help monitor their asthma. If your child's health care provider says to use one at specific times of day, put it someplace handy and set alarms to help you and your child remember it. To record your child's peak flow readings, keep a chart next to the peak flow meter. Or utilize the same mobile app you use for tracking medication.
Keep on-the-go asthma supplies together in a small bag.
Include your child's quick-relief inhaler—the type of inhaler your child uses only as needed, at the first sign that asthma is getting worse. You might also add a spacer, peak flow meter, copy of the asthma action plan, and list of contact numbers for you, other caregivers, and health care providers.
As you leave an asthma checkup, schedule the next one.
Enter it right away on the same calendar you use for other can't-miss family activities, such as birthday parties, soccer games, and school holidays. The American Lung Association recommends that kids see their health care providers for an asthma checkup at least once a year or more often if they're having symptoms.