from MedisoftIndia 

Asthma and Your Child

Preventive Measures You can take at home:

You can help your child avoid asthma attacks by keeping him or her away from  allergens that can start an asthma attack. Here are examples of triggers:

Reduce the risk of exposure to allergens:

You can reduce the asthma triggers in your home by following these steps:

  1. Cover your child's mattress, pillows and bed with an airtight vinyl or nylon case. Use cotton or acrylic blankets that can be easily washed. Don't use wool blankets. Wash bed sheets, blankets and pillow covers  in hot water more frequently.
  2. Remove carpets from your home as they catch dust very fast.
  3. Instead of drapes and cloth-covered furniture, use washable curtains or vinyl shades and furniture you can wipe with a damp cloth, especially in your child's bedroom.
  4. Wash sheets, blankets and pillows, throw rugs and stuffed animals often, use hot water to kill dust mites.
  5. Use pillows or comforters filled with polyester instead of feathers.
  6. Keep the humidity in your house below 50% when possible. Dust mites and mold grow best in damp areas. You may have to use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep the humidity low.
  7. Wipe bathroom surfaces with a solution of bleach and water, and use bleach to clean in the basement and other damp areas to reduce mold and mildew. Try to keep fresh air flowing into these areas, and use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry. Air conditioning if available, can be useful unless your child is intolerant to cold.
  8. Try not to have pets with fur or feathers, or at least keep them out of your child's bedroom. If you have cats or dogs, shampoo and brush them often (outside of the house).
  9. Keep your child's bedroom windows closed to keep pollen out.
  10. Use a clothes dryer instead of hanging the laundry outside, to keep pollen from getting on clothes and sheets.
  11. Don't smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars in your home or allow anyone else to smoke there. Help your child stay away from cigarette smoke in other places. Teach your child never to smoke.
Symptoms of acute exacerbations in a child:

Have your child use a peak flow meter every day. A peak flow meter measures how well air gets out of your child's lungs. People with asthma have lower air flow in and out of their lungs than other people. Measuring peak flow levels can help you see problems with your child's air flow before he or she has any symptoms of asthma.

A meter also helps tell you and your doctor how serious your child's asthma attack is. You'll be able to see when your child should take more medicine or when you need emergency care for your child. The peak flow readings may also help you find the triggers that make your child's asthma symptoms worse.

Technique of Peak Flow Meter measurement:

To use a peak flow meter, your child should follow these steps:

  1. Move the indicator to the bottom of the numbered scale.
  2. Stand up.
  3. Take a deep breath.
  4. Close his or her lips around the mouthpiece of the flow meter. The tongue should not go inside the tube.
  5. Blow out as hard and fast as possible.

The indicator on the flow meter will move up. Write down the number where it stops. Have your child repeat steps 1 through 5 two more times. Write down the highest of the three numbers on the peak flow meter record chart.

Your doctor will tell you when to have your child use the peak flow meter and how to find out your child's "personal best" score. The personal best score is the highest score your child gets in two weeks of recording, when the asthma is under good control. After you know your child's personal best score, you compare the daily peak flow score with the personal best score.

This is a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. To find out if this handout applies to you and to get more information, talk to your doctor.

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