What Is Asthma?
Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs. It affects over seven million children in the United States (about 10% of children under age 17). Asthma causes episodes of coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath. If not controlled, these episodes can lead to visits to the doctor, trips to an emergency room, and in some cases, overnight hospital stays.
How Can I tell if my child has asthma?
There are several “key indicators” that are often present in asthma. They are:
- A history of recurrent wheezing that responds to inhalation/breathing treatment
- Chronic cough, usually worse at night and/or with activity
- Wheezing that has been observed by a health care provider that improves with the use of an asthma rescue medication (albuterol, or similar medication, in a puffer or with an aerosol treatment)
- Repeated episodes of shortness of breath, or chest tightness, that may occur with colds, exposure to allergens, or activity
Call our office to schedule an appointment if you feel that your child has any of the above key indicators of asthma.
If your child does have asthma, here are some resources to help you:
The asthma control test (ACT): This “test” lets you see how well your child’s asthma is controlled by a series of questions. Click here to answer the questions. Bring the results to your next appointment, or schedule an appointment if indicated.
Asthma Education and Self-Management
Download our asthma information handout, and learn about asthma triggers, asthma medications, and how to manage asthma in your child or yourself.
Avoid the ER or Urgent Care! For important tips to keep your child out of the ER, click here.
Asthma Action Plans
Every asthma patient should have an Asthma Action Plan, and you should go over this plan with your child’s physician. Click on one of the links below to print out an asthma action plan, and bring it with you to your next visit to our office.
Our respiratory therapist, Susan Mills, talks about asthma education, and shows us an example of a spirometry visit.
Asthma: ask us about learning more: https://youtu.be/scxs9ZVSzl4
What happens during a spirometry visit? https://youtu.be/s0olEBC1Yj0
How to use a spacer with your inhaler: https://youtu.be/BriakxkT35U
Helpful, Reliable Asthma Web Sites
If you child is five years old or older, then she/he can take a spirometry test. This test is used to help us find out if your child has asthma. If you already know your child has asthma, then he/she should have spirometry done regularly to help us find out if the asthma is in good control. Call our office to schedule a spirometry visit with our respiratory therapist.
NIOX® (nitric oxide) Testing
Nitric oxide in the breath is a measure of a specific kind of inflammation that occurs in asthma. For patients with asthma who are old enough to perform the test, we check this level at each checkup and follow up visits for asthma care. The test can also be helpful in diagnosing asthma in a patient with cough or other breathing problems. In conjunction with spirometry, the test can also help us determine if our treatment for asthma is working or not.