Almost 1 in 10 children have asthma in the U.S. The numbers seem to be increasing.
With the right medications and an understanding of how to the use the medications, the symptoms of asthma can be controlled. However, a large percentage of children with asthma go through daily life with uncontrolled asthma. Unfortunately, the symptoms then become the new norm, which can lead to many missed school days, an avoidance of exercise and activity, in addition to more frequent asthma attacks that may spiral out of control.
Is your child’s asthma under control? How do you know?
Have your child take the asthma control test (ACT). For those older than 11 years, you can find the asthma control test here. For children between 4 and 11 years, have them take the childhood asthma control test. If the score is less than 19, the asthma is not under control.
The good news is that better control of asthma is indeed possible. There is no reason for children with asthma to be limited in physical activity. There is no reason for children with asthma to experience ongoing wheezing and chest tightness. A common reason for poor control of asthma is simply not taking a medication enough or not taking it correctly. With inhalers, technique is key.
After taking the ACT, bring the results to your child’s doctor and discuss it. Asthma is a chronic disease that needs regular follow-ups to monitor how well the disease is being controlled. Every child should have an “asthma action plan” that outlines what medications the child has, when to take them, and what to do depending on the degree of symptoms. If you don’t have an asthma action plan, ask for one!
If your child has asthma, or you are concerned that your child has frequent bouts of wheezing and cough, please be sure to ask and discuss these questions with your child’s doctor:
- What is asthma? Why do you think my child has asthma?
- What symptoms at home should I watch out for?
- Can you please go over the asthma action plan for my child?
- What can I do to help reduce the triggers for my child’s asthma?
- How can I help my child understand what asthma is?
- When does my child need to return for follow-up of asthma?