A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Breathing Easy: Helping Your Child Manage Their Asthma This Summer

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Breathing Easy: Helping Your Child Manage Their Asthma This Summer

Summertime means cheering on your child's soccer team, practicing for swim lessons, and signing up for baseball camp. But for parents of children with asthma, summer sports may present an extra level of anxiety. While about 60% of children play an organized sport outside of school, about 10% of kids have asthma.

If your pediatrician has recently diagnosed exercised-induced huffing and puffing as asthma, it is important to understand how to prevent and handle sudden attacks. While asking a medical professional is the first step to handling childhood asthma, you can also follow these simple tips for making day-to-day life and activities less worrisome. Your preparedness will leave you and child breathing easy.


  1. Know what triggers their attacks. While many asthma attacks happen during sports or other forms of exercise, there are many other possible triggers. Allergies to pollen, pet dander, smoke, medicine and other elements can cause asthma to flare up. Each time your child has difficulty breathing, be sure to check for common factors.
  2. Remember their inhaler while traveling. As you pack up your family's medications for a vacation or weekend trip, be sure to include your child's inhaler, nebulizer, or other emergency device. Getting caught unprepared could potentially be dangerous if your child has an unexpected attack. If your child suddenly has a breathing emergency, there are 5,564 registered hospitals in the United States. When traveling outside of the U.S. be sure to ask about the closest hospital when checking into your hotel.
  3. Stay calm in the event of an emergency. Having trouble breathing is already a frightening experience, so make sure that you are not amplifying this fear by reacting poorly. When your child has an asthma attack, stay calm, reassure them, and help them take their inhaler. By speaking in soothing tones, you will reduce their anxiety and help them regain normal breathing.
  4. Always have an emergency plan. While your child may rarely have an asthma attack, be sure that your family is prepared to react if they do. Know where your local urgent care centers are located. You can take your child to one of these clinics if you are concerned about their symptoms. About 90% of facilities are open past 9 p.m., and two out of five are open later than that.
  5. Inform their coaches and camp counselors. When your child begins playing a sport or signs up for a camp, be sure that the adults in charge know about the severity of your child's condition. Let them know if your child usually takes their medication before beginning an activity. The coach, counselor, or a staff nurse can manage your child's inhaler use. For your own peace of mind, find out the location of nearby hospitals in case of emergency.
  6. Schedule regular checkups with their pediatrician. As your child grows and develops, their condition may change. Their pediatrician will be able to inspect their lungs and airways for any damage or improvements. A doctor may also refer you to a specialist, such as an allergist, to further pinpoint your child's asthma triggers.
Remember: Certain circumstances, such as colds and infections, may amplify your child's symptoms. If their wheezing and coughing seems out of the ordinary, don't hesitate to call their doctor. As a parent, it is your job to assist your child in handling their asthma diagnosis. With the right health support and prevention, they can spent the whole summer kicking soccer balls and jumping into pools. Their asthma can sit on the sideline.


Image Source: Taro Taylor

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