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Asthma - what to ask your doctor - child

Asthma is a problem with the airways that bring oxygen to your lungs. A person with asthma may not feel symptoms all the time. But when an asthma attack happens, it becomes hard for air to pass through your airways. The symptoms are coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, or shortness of breath.

Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor or nurse to help you take care of your child’s asthma.

Alternate Names

What to ask your doctor about asthma - child

Questions

Is my child taking asthma medicines the right way?

  • What drugs should my child take every day (called controller drugs)? What should I do if my child misses a day?
  • Which drugs should my child take when he or she is short of breath (called rescue drugs)? Is it okay to use these rescue drugs every day?
  • What are the side effects of these medicines? For what side effects should I call the doctor?
  • How will I know when the inhalers are getting empty? Is my child using the inhaler the right way? Should my child be using a spacer?

What are some signs that a child's asthma is getting worse and that I need to call the doctor? What should I do when my child feels short of breath?

What shots or vaccinations does my child need?

How do I find out when smog or pollution is worse?

What sort of changes should I make around the home?

  • Can we have a pet? In the house or outside? How about in the bedroom?
  • Is it okay for anyone to smoke in the house? How about if my child is not in the house when someone is smoking?
  • Is it okay for me to clean and vacuum when my child is in the house?
  • Is it okay to have carpets in the house?
  • What type of furniture is best to have?
  • How do I get rid of dust and mold in the house? Do I need to cover my child's bed or pillows?
  • Can my child have stuffed animals?
  • How do I know if I have cockroaches in my home? How do I get rid of them?
  • Can I have a fire in my fireplace or wood-burning stove?

What does my child's school or daycare need to know about my child’s asthma?

  • Do I need to have an asthma plan for the school?
  • How can I make sure my child can use the medicines at school?
  • Can my child participate fully in gym class at school?

What types of exercises or activities are better for a child with asthma to do?

  • Are there times when my child should avoid being outside?
  • Are there things that I can do before my child starts exercising?

Does my child need tests or treatments for allergies? What should I do when I know my child will be around something that triggers their asthma?

What type of arrangements do I need to make when we are planning to travel?

  • What drugs should I bring? How do we get refills?
  • Who should I call if my child’s asthma gets worse?

Updated: 11/12/2012

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.


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