Asthma in children is the leading cause of missed school days and a leading cause of hospitalization. Asthma in children results in nearly 700,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the American Lung Association. Wheezing is not an everyday side effect of asthma. If your child is wheezing, coughing or having difficulty breathing, he or she is already in the early stages of an asthma attack. Asthma attacks can quickly turn serious, even life-threatening.
There is no cure for asthma in children, but the condition can be managed and controlled. Your child’s doctor can help you determine your child’s asthma triggers, so you know what to avoid. A peak-flow meter, which measures how well air flows out of the lungs, can help you monitor your child’s asthma on a daily basis and let you know when your child needs medicine. Your child’s doctor will also help you understand your child’s asthma treatment. Long-term control medicine is used to control chronic inflammation in your child’s airways. Quick-relief medicine, or rescue medicine, is used when asthma symptoms, like wheezing and coughing, appear. Most asthma medicine is breathed into the lungs as an aerosol mist from a hand-held inhaler. In young children, a nebulizer automatically blows a fine mist into the lungs through a breathing mask. Your doctor will prescribe medication based on your child’s specific needs. Knowing what medicine to take when can help control asthma in children and prevent asthma attacks.