Treating Asthma in Children
A doctor should always be involved when treating asthma in children. Once a diagnosis of asthma is determined, the doctor will discuss how best to treat your child. The aim of good asthma management is to ensure children can lead a normal healthy life, while taking only as much medication as is needed to keep them well, and avoid asthma flare-ups.
It will help you to know how your child’s medication works, and how it needs to be taken. You can look up the range of common asthma medicines and correct techniques here.
All children will need to carry or have available a reliever medicine wherever they are at home, school or elsewhere. This medicine, as described previously, will be used to relieve any symptoms which occur and will stabilise your child’s breathing.
The doctor will then discuss the option of starting a preventer medicine. This is a medicine that works to address the underlying causes of inflammation and sensitivity to triggers.
Common preventers used in children include Montelukast, Singulair and Flixotide, or Fluticasone. There are others, and each has relatively specific characteristics which may be relevant to your child’s individual asthma traits. It is important to explore all options with your child’s doctor, weighing up pros and cons to agree on the most suitable treatment for your child. This could be not using a preventer medicine at all.
Regardless of how your child receives their treatment, it is recommended your child return to their doctor approximately one month after their diagnosis. This will allow the doctor to review their condition and their medication.
Medicine Side Effects
All medicines can cause unwanted symptoms, called side effects. In asthma, because the medicines are inhaled are both relievers or preventers, it means side effects are uncommon, usually very mild and not dangerous.
Most common side effects related to reliever use are shakiness and hyperactivity. For preventer medicines, side effects can include sore throat, hoarse voice and oral thrush. More serious side effects can occur with regular preventer use but they are uncommon, especially your child is using a low dose preventer.
Rinsing and spitting after preventer use is effective at reducing side effects in the mouth and throat. For the more uncommon side effects that affect hormones and growth, we recommended that your doctor measure your child’s height and weight during their annual review.