Asthma Awareness Month: How to identify and treat your child’s asthma
May is Asthma Awareness Month.
The chronic illness affects millions of Americans. News 12 Producer Lindsay Wilson spoke with a pediatrician on how to identify and treat your child’s asthma.
Cough and shortness of breath are symptoms that seem mundane, but they’re also signs that someone could be having an asthma attack.
“Asthma is a disease that affects your lungs. It’s a long-term disease. It involves narrowing of the airways and swelling, and it makes it difficult for people with asthma to breathe,” says Dr. Sushma Kasinathan, a pediatrician at the Westchester Community Health Center.
The American Lung Association says there are over 78,700 adults with asthma in Westchester County alone, and nearly 14,000 children in the county have the disease.
Kasinathan says an asthma attack is commonly brought on by certain triggers.
“I like to break up the triggers into outdoor and indoor triggers. So outdoor triggers include pollution and pollen, especially this time of season, as well as fires – wildfires in some areas. And indoor triggers would include, for example, pets, if you’re allergic to certain pets like pet dander. Dust mites and smoking is a big trigger,” she says.
Aside from avoiding triggers, experts say it’s important to have an “asthma action plan.”
“Asthma action plans are essentially broken up into zones, making sure everything is alright, what rescue medications you would take, but then as you go into the danger zone, what do you need to do and what are the signs you look for?”
That detailed and individualized plan would go to the child’s caretakers and their school - that way everyone involved knows what to do in the event of an attack.
VIDEO: Watch the full tutorial on how to properly use an inhaler below:
While it is good to have a plan in place, Kasinathan says the most important thing for an asthmatic to know is how to properly administer their emergency medication, albuterol, which is administered through an inhaler.