Asthma is a common chronic respiratory condition in children. It can cause a host of symptoms that range from narrowed, mucus-filled airways, coughing, and wheezing to chest tightness, decreased blood oxygenation, and skin pallor.
Asthma is a common cause of missed school days and last-minute changes in family plans and activities. Fortunately, you and your child can take back control by understanding their asthma triggers.
Here’s what you and your child should watch out for, so asthma flare-ups are not a frequent occurrence any longer.
Common Asthma Triggers in Children
Children who have asthma experience episodes, or flare-ups, of symptoms when exposed to certain substances or conditions in their environment. These triggers may be present all the time, or they may appear seasonally (such as a high pollen count). Others are related to the child’s own physiological processes or things they may be allergic to, such as foods or animals. It’s best to know and avoid asthma triggers as the first line of defense against flare-ups.
Asthma triggers vary from person to person. However, some of the most frequent triggers are:
- Weather extremes: heat, cold, and wind
- Allergens, such as dust mites, mold, pollen, cockroaches, animal dander, and certain foods
- Acid reflux disease (GERD)
- Indoor and outdoor air pollution
- Cigarette smoke
- Wood fires
- Emotional – either crying or laughing a lot
- Respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu
How to Avoid Asthma Triggers
While it’s truly impossible to protect a child from every possible asthma trigger all the time, parents can take some simple steps to keep asthma episodes to a minimum. These interventions include:
- Washing bedding and clothes in hot water frequently
- Removing as many carpets and rugs from the home as possible
- Keeping the child indoors on high pollen count days
- Getting the child an annual flu shot and other vaccines, as their pediatrician advises
- Avoiding home humidification
- Vacuuming and dusting the home, particularly the child’s bedroom, frequently
- Practicing good handwashing techniques
- Using sensitive skin soaps and laundry detergents
- Avoiding the use of fragrances (candles and perfumes)
Additionally, parents should keep a journal of symptoms and possible triggers. This information can help their doctor determine the best asthma treatment plan.
How Your Pediatrician Can Help
Periodic well-child visits are a must for a child with asthma. Your pediatrician may recommend allergy testing and treatment (shots or oral medications) and will likely prescribe a rescue inhaler (bronchodilator) and maintenance medication (inhaled corticosteroid) to control symptoms.
Additionally, the doctor can help you and your child formulate an asthma action plan to use when symptoms become severe. This plan should be shared with their school nurse, caregivers, teachers, and coaches, so they know how to help in case of severe symptoms.
Children’s Asthma Treatment in Purchase, NY
At Westchester Park Pediatrics, our pediatricians work with numerous families to manage asthma and other chronic health conditions in children. If you wish to know more about asthma triggers and how to avoid them, please contact us for an in-office consultation: at (914) 761-1717. You can also request an appointment online. Your child’s health is our top priority!