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Asthma's Impact on Your Child's Life

Topic Overview

Asthma is a challenging condition. It can affect all areas of your child's life.

  • Many children with asthma miss school days. When this happens, have your child call a friend to ask about the work he or she missed. Doing this both keeps your child's schoolwork current and provides him or her with the social contact that school provides.
  • Children may doubt their ability to participate in sports or band. But if your child uses his or her medicines and keeps asthma symptoms under control, he or she will probably be able to participate in activities.
  • Children may be embarrassed about taking medicine at school. It may be less embarrassing if your child can take the medicine at home or is allowed to keep the medicine with him or her at school. At times, though, it may be necessary for your child to go to the school nurse or office to take medicine.
  • Children may feel they are different from their peers because of the need to avoid situations that trigger asthma symptoms, such as going to the homes of friends who have pets. Inviting those friends to your home can help your child interact with other children. But visitors may carry pet allergens on their clothing and other items, so be aware that your child may need to increase his or her use of asthma-control medicines during such visits.
  • Children may be concerned about having an asthma attack at school or around friends. They may fear that they will die during an attack. If symptoms are controlled daily, children will have fewer, less severe asthma attacks.

One of the best tools for managing asthma is a daily controller medicine that has a corticosteroid (sometimes called a "steroid"). But some people worry about using corticosteroid medicines because of myths they've heard about them. If you're making a decision about a corticosteroid inhaler, it helps to know the facts.

Most asthma attacks result from a failure to successfully control asthma with medicines. By strictly following your child's doctor's recommendations and correctly giving medicine to your child, it is possible to prevent asthma attacks from occurring in most children. This can greatly reduce the impact of asthma on your child's life.

Parents sometimes think that their child's asthma is life-threatening even when it is mild. Many parents of children who have asthma believe that asthma can affect their child's emotional well-being. You can work with your child's doctor to learn ways of dealing with asthma to take away some, if not most, of your and your child's anxiety.

Family therapy, such as counseling, may be helpful to children who have asthma. A review of studies showed that peak expiratory flow and daytime wheezing improved in children who had therapy compared with those who didn't and that children showed overall improvement from therapy.1

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Yorke J, Shuldham C (2005). Family therapy for asthma in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2). Oxford: Update Software.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Lora J. Stewart, MD - Allergy and Immunology
Last Revised March 14, 2013

Last Revised: March 14, 2013

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