If you have a young child with asthma, then it is essential that you develop a treatment plan with your son or daughter's respiratory specialist to make sure that your child does not develop an emergency respiratory episode. The treatment plan should include medications for the asthma as well as humidifiers and other breathing assistance devices. As a parent, you also should do your part to make sure that asthma flare-ups do not occur on a regular basis. Keep reading to learn about how allergy triggers can be identified and controlled to help with this.
Identify Allergen Triggers
One of the very first things you should do when you find out that your child has asthma is to work with your child's pediatric respiratory therapist to identify the asthma triggers. While exercise, weather changes, and cold air are all common triggers, allergens are among the most common and widespread triggers. Allergies to mold, dust mites, pet dander, cockroaches, and pollen are most likely. To find the substances that may affect your child, they will need to undergo an allergy test. Both skin and blood tests can be completed. The best results are typically provided through a test called an intradermal skin test where small amounts of diluted allergens are placed underneath the skin. About 15 minutes after the allergen is administered, the skin is observed for a reaction.
If your child has been experiencing severe asthma attacks, then it may be possible that antihistamines and other medications cannot be stopped. Unfortunately, medications that control asthma and allergies can interfere with the allergy testing and suppress the reactions that appear across the skin. In this case, your child can receive a blood test instead to identify allergens.
Once the allergens are found that cause asthma symptoms, you will need to help your child effectively avoid the substances. If pollen is a concern, then try to keep your child indoors on days when the weather is both dry and warm. Pollen will be in the air in the greatest abundance during these times. Take your child outside to play right after a rainstorm. Keep in mind that pollen is also abundant in the air between 5 AM and 10 AM and also around dusk. Avoid taking your son or daughter outside during these times.
If your child must go outdoors, then purchase an allergy or pollen mask that will help to reduce pollen exposure. A mask that contains HEPA filtration is wise to remove over 99% of the particles in the air that are .3 microns or larger. Pollen particles typically range in size from 10 to 100 microns, so the HEPA mask will keep all pollen from reaching your son or daughter's nasal passages. However, try to use the pollen mask only on cooler days, because the inside of the mask can become quite warm.
If your child is allergic to indoor substances like pet dander, mold, and dust mite feces, then a HEPA air filter in the home can help to remove some of these materials. You also will need to make sure that you clean your house regularly so that your child is exposed to very few of the allergens that can cause an asthma flare-up. Wet cleaning is best to help keep allergens from becoming airborne. Use soap and water to clean linoleum and hardwood floors every few days. About once a week, clean the floors with white vinegar. The vinegar will kill mold spores as well as dust mites. Place about four cups of vinegar in a bucket with warm water and mop your floors normally.
You can also spray carpets, furniture, and bedding to control allergens. Place one cup of vinegar and one cup of water in a spray bottle and spray a generous amount of the mixture on indoor items. This is especially important to control dust mites that likely live inside your child's pillow.