(Photo by stock.xchng user tijmen.)
Identifying asthma in a little kid is arduous enough and everyone’s got a diagnosis story, but the real work begins after diagnosis. Then you’re looking at a comprehensive strategy of prevention, maintenance, and treatment and a whole lot of guesswork and trial-and-error to get there.
Here’s a general sort of roadmap to get you started on the path to asthma maintenance:
1. Read, read, read. Check out my blogroll
up top below for some good information sources.
2. Start keeping an asthma trigger journal to figure out your child’s pattern of flaring. Reading up on common triggers for other people isn’t a bad idea, either, but take lists like the one in that link for what they’re worth. No trigger list can ever be completely exhaustive.
3. Cover your kid’s mattress and pillows with allergenic cases. Virtually every asthmatic I know has a sensitivity to dust mites, and the covers help keep kids from flaring at night.
4.Schedule allergy testing unless you’re absolutely certain they’re not part of the trigger picture.
5. Again, you probably cannot read enough when it comes to childhood asthma.
6. Ask your pediatrician for a referral to a pediatric pulmonologist or an allergy/asthma specialist. I’ll be honest with you: my daughter doesn’t have one of these anymore because she’s older now and well-maintained through her pediatrician. But her specialist was invaluable during her younger years when we stumbled through the darkness of uncontrolled asthma, and I’d start taking her to a pulmonologist again in a second if her health started to suffer or her asthma worsen.
7. Talk to other parents, in person or online. Asthma parents who’ve been doing it for awhile are a goldmine of information and tips. If for nothing else, it’s a serious sanity boost to talk to someone else who understands what words like *beta agonist* mean.
8. When you have enough information about your kid’s triggers and flares, set up an asthma maintenance program with the doctor. Depending on your kid’s age, health, and type of asthma, this will include all or some of the following: quick-relief inhaler or nebulizer meds, controller inhaler or nebulizer meds, peak flow meter, asthma action plan for school, allergy meds.