If your child has asthma, he or she may struggle daily to keep his or her symptoms under control. While your child's pediatrician may prescribe medications to help alleviate the symptoms, parents can do more. To prevent future flare-ups, you should first identify the triggers that are causing an attack. Once you do, helping your child breathe more easily won't be a challenge.
1. Pet Dander
Many children are allergic to pet dander, which may worsen the symptoms of asthma. If you own a dog, cat, bird, or another animal with fur or feathers, then you might want to look into the possibility that your child is allergic.
If your child wheezes when coming into contact with the family pet, you don't necessarily need to find your furry or feathered friend a new home. Before taking any drastic measures, try the following tips.
Groom Your Pet Regularly
Regular grooming is especially important for long-haired cats and dogs. Ask your groomer or veterinarian about special shampoos made to keep pet dander in check. Also, if you own a bird that produces a powdery dander, you might want to try misting the bird with lukewarm water weekly to keep the dander under control.
Vacuum Carpets and Upholstery Often
When shedding occurs, dander becomes trapped in carpet and upholstery fibers. It is important to vacuum these areas thoroughly to minimize these irritants which could trigger an asthma attack. HEPA filters are good for trapping irritants. Better yet, consider replacing carpeting with hardwood floors.
Don't Allow Pets to Sleep in Your Child's Bedroom
Pets should have a separate sleeping area. Never allow the family dog or cat to climb onto your bed or your child's bed.
2. Exposure From Cigarette Smoke or a Wood-Burning Fireplace
Exposure to chemicals, including smoke, may worsen your child's asthma. Family members should not be permitted to smoke cigarettes inside the house. Also, don't allow others to smoke in your child's presence.
The smoke from a wood-burning fireplace is another often-overlooked trigger. If you own a wood-burning fireplace, then you might want to reconsider using it. At the very least, make sure the area is well ventilated and use an air purifier with ionizer for the entire home.
3. Upper Respiratory Infections
In many cases, an upper respiratory infection, such as the flu or common cold, may trigger an asthma attack in a child. While you may not be able to prevent your child from getting sick, you can reduce his or her odds of illness. For example, frequent hand washing can prevent the spread of germs.
Make sure your child consumes a healthy diet containing plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And speak to your pediatrician about nutritional supplements for children. And if your child is over the age of six months, have him or her vaccinated for protection against influenza.
4. Participating in Cold Weather Sports
Some children suffer from what is known as exercise-induced asthma. Exercise-induced asthma may occur as a child participates in cold-weather sports such as skiing. A common cause is the inhalation of cold, dry air during exercise, as it tends to narrow the airways.
To prevent an asthma flare-up, you might want to limit your child's exposure to cold, dry air and participation in endurance sports. Less-strenuous alternatives for physical fitness include hiking, walking, or bike riding when weather permits. You should also inform your child's teacher or caregivers about your child's health and stay ahead of the situation.
Keep these tips in mind to reduce your child's risk of experiencing an asthma flare-up. Also, speak to your child's doctor about how you can better manage the condition.