- Kids Health
Asthma Management Guidelines: How the Experts Keep a Written Record to Better Manage their Asthma
Keep A Written Record To Manage the Asthma
Once you realize that asthma is a possibility, it will help your doctor to make an accurate diagnosis if you keep a written record of when your child felt wheezy or was coughing or short of breath. If you keep a detailed record of her symptoms over a period of time, you and the doctor will be able to build up a pattern on order to establish what triggers the attacks.
Note exactly what her symptoms were, what time they occurred, how severe they were and how long they lasted. It is also worth jotting down what your child was doing when the symptoms occurred, perhaps after running outside or while asleep at night, and what she has been eating.
At this stage, make your notes too full rather than too brief as your doctor will appreciate as much information about your child as possible. A persistent cough at night or after exercise is one of the most common indicators of asthma.
A family history of atopic conditions, such as hayfever or eczema, should alert you the possibility of asthma in your child. Never ignore your child’s persistent cough or wheezing in the hope that it will go away on its own.
Some illness can be mistaken for asthma, especially in very young children. These include:
- Whooping cough, less common nowadays due to vaccination. Symptoms are severe coughing, vomiting, breathlessness, nose bleeds and a high temperature.
- Cystic fibrosis – a genetic condition in which the lungs produce too much mucus, which leads to recurrent chest infections.
- Croup – infection which comes from a cold and affects the larynx or voice box. A barking cough and breathlessness follow.
Once a doctor has a baseline reading of the peak flow meter, he will ask you to monitor your child’s peak flow at home and keep a record of it so that he can compare it after your child has been taking asthma medication.
If your child’s peak flow improves when she receives medication and her symptoms of asthma disappear, a diagnosis of asthma is likely.
Asthma Management Guidelines
Peak Flow Meter Readings – What Does It Means For Your Asthma Treatment
Your doctor will tell you the peak flow reading to expect when your child is healthy.
You can also ask what number of range on the gauge indicates that your child’s symptoms are becoming serious. Write the numbers down next to your doctor’s telephone number.
The aim is to get consistent normal readings over a long period of time. If you are getting fluctuating readings over two days or more this could be an indication of an asthma attack, so be on the lookout for other symptoms and contact your doctor for advice.
Once you have established a routine with the peak flow meter you will find it very helpful in monitoring your child’s condition.
So, what is a measure of breathing? A peak flow meter is used to monitor the efficiency of your child’s lungs and can give early warning of an asthma attack. Measurement often becomes part of your morning and evening routine but once the asthma seems stable, it may be reserved for monitoring during an asthma attack.
If readings fluctuate over a period of two days or more this could be early warning of an asthma attack. Keep the procedure routine and low key so that your child is not tempted to put up any resistance.
Do not worry about variations of up to 15 percent between two peak flow readings. This is not uncommon. If your child is being given emergency treatment it will help the doctors to know how the attack has built up, so remember to take her peak flow chart with you.
If your child’s condition is worsening it is useful to take a peak flow reading, but do not repeat this too often as it can cause panic and discomfort. You can get replacement mouthpieces for the peak flow meter if yours becomes chewed or damaged.
Blood Test – What Is Its Connection With Asthma Treatment
A RAST or radioallergosorbent test may be used to measure allergy levels within the blood but
it is not particularly specific or sensitive. The test involves taking a sample of your child’s blood and sending it to special laboratories for analysis.
A blood test may also be done to measure the concentration of certain medications in the blood. These include oral theophyllines, which may be prescribed if your child’s asthma is particularly bad at night.
Tests to measure oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the blood use a non invasive device called a pulse oximeter which is attached to the asthma patient’s finger by a special clip. It emits a beam of red light which shines through the finger and measures the color of the blood.
A machine converts that color reading to oxygen content. These tests often referred to as sat for saturation tests are simple to do and will cause no discomfort to your child. If you do not understand what test is or why it is being done, ask the medical staff for more information.
In skin prick testing, the nurse applies drops of various common allergens, such as pollen, dust and fungal spores, along different points on the child’s arm. She then makes a small prick through the substance into the skin.
Any skin inflammation indicates an immune response, showing that the patient may be allergic to that substance. These tests are so much a part of the lives of the hospital staff who carry them out that they often forget that you may not understand exactly what is happening and why. If in doubt, ask.
Can Reducing House Dust Mites Has Any Effect On Asthma
House dust mites, which form a large part of the dust in every home, are the most common asthma trigger and the one that is difficult to eradicate totally. The mites feed off the dead skin flakes which every individual sheds almost continuously.
Although these flakes are invisible to the human eye, they are very numerous. Regular cleaning means that there is less for the mites to feed on, but there are a number of other steps that can also be taken to reduce their impact.
How do I reduce dust and mites?
The first step is simply to cause a few draughts as dust mites do not flourish so readily in a well aired home. The tendency in recent years has been to eliminate virtually all air currents, to save fuel and money.
This has resulted in many homes having double glazed windows, sealed chimneys and fitted mats throughout. There are a few simple steps that you can take to increase the movement of air without increasing your fuel consumption.
When your carpets age, remove and do not replace them. Put down a vinyl covering or seal wooden floors so they are easy to mop. But cotton rugs you can wash or take outside to clean. Open windows every day to let fresh air circulate.
Without carpets in the house, you may have to wear an extra layer of clothing, but you should not need to turn the heating up. You can now wash all the floors and damp rust furniture (using a damp cloth rather than a duster), which is one of the best ways of removing house dust and mites.
Remember to pay special attention to areas around radiator pipes and in corners where dust and mites can be concentrated.