To make the most of your visit with the pediatrician, make a list of those questions and bring them with you. Here are seven questions you'll definitely want on the list:
- What does it mean that my child has asthma?
Your doctor can explain exactly what asthma is, and give you more information about how severe your child's asthma is. Not every child's asthma is the same, and asthma in children is often different than it is for adults. Don't be afraid to ask for more details on the disease, and how that disease specifically affects your child.
- What will my child's treatment be?
Every child is different, and your child's asthma treatment will be tailored for her medical needs and lifestyle. This is where your asthma action plan is a must-have tool. This plan, which you'll write with your child's doctor, provides a detailed guide to your child's asthma treatment. It includes your child's daily treatment, along with emergency treatment and a guide for what to do in an emergency.
- Do we need to make any changes at home?
Your child's asthma may flare up when your child is exposed to specific triggers. These may include chemicals, exercise and even the weather. Some common triggers may be in your home, like dust mites or pet fur. Once you and your doctor have identified your child's triggers, you can work on making your home trigger-free. This handy checklist outlines steps you can take to remove asthma triggers from your home.
- Who else needs to know about my child's asthma?
Anyone who takes care of your child should know about your child's asthma. That includes teachers, coaches, the school nurse and babysitters. The easiest way to share the information they need is to show them your child's asthma action plan and give them a copy to keep. You can also show them how to use your child's medications. With this information in hand, your child's caregivers can make better decisions if they need to help your child through an asthma attack.
- How should I talk to my child about asthma?
Helping your child to understand asthma will give you peace of mind and make it easier to manage the condition. Explain asthma in language that is appropriate for the child's age, and give your child a chance to ask questions. You'll also want to talk about medications and what to do during an asthma attack. If you're not sure where to start, ask your child's doctor for suggestions and resources, or ask the doctor to lead the conversation.
- What are the signs of an asthma attack or medical emergency?
An asthma attack is scary for your child, and for you and other caregivers. Knowing the signs and symptoms of an asthma attack will help you feel better prepared. Your asthma action plan also includes directions on what to do when your child is in the "Red Zone." Ask your doctor to review this section thoroughly with you, and make sure that you feel prepared for an emergency.
- What other resources are available?
You and your child don't have to face asthma alone. Your child's doctor can help you connect with a support group, and plenty of other resources are available. You'll find an asthma action plan, trigger worksheet, one family's asthma story and much more right here on our website.
This article was originally published by the Health & Wellness Alliance for Children and reviewed by Dr. Angela Moemeka, Medical Director of the Health and Wellness Alliance and Vice President and Medical Director of Community Health at Children's Health℠.