Asthma is the most prevalent chronic condition among children in the U.S. and is the third ranking cause of hospitalization in children. In 2012, 7 million children in the U.S. had asthma, which is equal to 1 in 11 children. As with adults, asthma can lead to mortality in children. Every year, 300 children die as a result of asthma. There are many factors that cause asthma attacks in children. Contaminants in outdoor air, second-hand smoke, vigorous exercise, allergies, and stress are all examples of triggers for attacks.
Poorly regulated asthma can cause children to miss school, have more hospital and doctor’s visits, and cause them to miss out on everyday activities. In 2008, asthma caused children to miss approximately 10.5 million days of school. In 2009, the average yearly cost of caring for a child with asthma was $1,039.* These costs include doctor’s visits, medication, and hospitalization.
Courtesy of Indiana University, the picture underneath shows how a child’s lungs react during an asthma attack. Asthma attacks cause a child’s airways to constrict, allowing less air to flow into their body. These attacks are dangerous, therefore it is important for parents to assist their children in monitoring their asthma.
How can parents best monitor their children’s asthma?
A trip to the doctor’s office can diagnose what type of asthma your child has and create a personalized plan best to treat it. Every child with asthma should complete the Virginia Asthma Action Plan found here. Make sure that your child has access to their inhaler at school and that they are well-informed of certain steps they can take to prevent an asthma attack from occurring. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers an Asthma Fast Facts Sheet specifically for kids! The fact sheet can be found here.
How can a child monitor their asthma symptoms?
Play or exercise with a friend who can grab assistance if you begin to experience an attack. Take breaks and make sure not to over-work your lungs. If you begin to feel an onset of an asthma attack, make sure to tell an adult or a friend close by. Avoid doing things that have triggered your asthma in the past and always keep your inhaler near-by, just in case!
The link below provides additional information that can help kids best monitor their asthma:
*For more asthma facts, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Asthma Fact Sheet