If left untreated, what starts out as a mild case of Asthma can develop into a severe and debilitating lung condition. In the United States, Asthma impacts about 6 million children.
There are many known common asthma triggers for those suffering from recurring episodes of asthma. The most notable triggers that affect children may include
- Other less obvious triggers
This article discusses how to minimize your child’s exposure to potential asthma triggers.
Reduce Children’s Exposure to Conditions That Aggravate Their Asthma
If you are a parent of a child with Asthma, your number one health concern should be to reduce your children’s exposure to pollen during the times in which it is most prevalent outside. Parents can help their children by establishing an asthma control program.
According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, Los Angeles county ranks 65th in the nation for Pollen count.
Although the pollen count in Los Angeles is not nearly as severe as many other American cities, it is still sage advice even in LA to avoid exposing your child to airborne pollen.
Here is the list of the top precautions to take to reduce the risk of overexposure to pollen and avoid the debilitating flareups it can cause:
- Avoid outdoor exposure during high pollen seasons
- Always use a central A/C instead of opening a window or door.
- When going outdoors, consider wearing a mask with a filter.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, children exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to develop Asthma symptoms and respiratory illnesses.
Adults with children should consider quitting.
If they can’t quit, they should at least be more vigilant when smoking, to ensure that they smoke outdoors and far away from children.
Not all Asthmatic children are sensitive to dust.
More often, children will have an existing allergy to dust mites that are commonly found in bedding, carpets, plush toys, and furniture.
According to the Mayo Clinic, children who are allergic to dust mites will be at higher risk of developing asthma triggers during adolescence.
A few tips to control dust in the home include:
- Frequent dusting in high-impact areas
- Using Asthma HVAC filters,
- Using HEPA air filters throughout the home.
Food & Asthma Triggers
The link between food and Asthma is generally linear.
According to the AAFA, food is not a common trigger for Asthma, but there are some children who are allergic to specific foods that when consumed can trigger Asthmatic episodes.
It’s important to work with your pediatric pulmonologist and Allergist to rule out or identify foods that should be avoided.
We have identified some of the most common foods that children can be allergic to.
Egg allergies are fairly common in young children, and 71% will outgrow this allergy by age 6.
Be aware if you notice your child flaring up after eating an omelet.
If the pattern of flaring up repeats itself routinely, schedule a food allergy test with your allergist.
Temporarily removing eggs from your child’s diet (if an allergy is suspected) may reduce the number of allergy attacks – which can then decrease common asthma child symptoms.
According to ACAII, peanut allergies have increased in children by 21 percent since 2010.
As a consequence of the high risk of fatality from peanuts, many schools and daycare faciltiess have gone 100% nut-free.
If you suspect your toddler is developing a sensitivity to peanuts, see your pediatrician, and find a daycare center that adheres to a strict nut-free policy.
Approximately 2.3% of the entire population of the United States is allergic to one or two variations of shellfish.
There are two variations of shellfish: Crustaceans, and Mollusks.
Many children are routinely allergic to Crustaceans, but it’s not uncommon for them to be allergic to both variations. .
Asthma sufferers with shellfish allergies can also develop a bad immune response which can trigger an asthma attack in adolescents.
One of the primary symptoms of a shellfish allergy is difficulty breathing and choking. which can mimic asthma symptoms.
If you suspect your child has a shellfish allergy, then schedule an emergency consultation with your pediatrician.
Can Pets Trigger Asthma Symptoms in Children?
Pets like dogs, cats, turtles, and birds often enrich our lives and are considered to be like members of our families.
Parents of children that suffer from pet allergies find it difficult to control symptoms without taking the drastic measure of removing a pet from the home.
Pets don’t cause Asthma, but allergies from pets can exacerbate or trigger an asthmatic response.
Before permanently removing your pet, consider ways to mitigate the impact of pet allergies on Asthmatic children first.
- Keep your child far away from your pet, and your pet’s resting area. Keep your pet’s food and water away from your children. The purpose is to create distance zones that limit the amount of pet dander that your child takes into his or her lungs.
- Teach your children who play with pets to thoroughly wash their hands before and after each “playdate” with their pet. Additionally, consider washing or changing your children’s clothing after each pet interaction.. Doing this will help reduce the number of allergens being directly inhaled via clothing and touching.
- Use a well-reviewed hypoallergenic shampoo on your pet, and bathe your pet often.
- Use over-the-counter children’s allergy medication, especially when your child will be exposed to pets for a longer duration of time.
- Clean up your pet’s urine accidents immediately. Urine contains similar allergenic elements that are found in pet hair.
In 2017 a landmark study showed a link between exposing infants to pets and a reduction in Asthma later in life.
While more research is needed, the study has given millions of parents hope and a way to reduce their children’s risk of Asthma.
Activities That Could Trigger an Asthma Attack
Children who have their Asthma well controlled should be quite able to participate in most sports activities.
The benefits of youth sports can help children physically and emotionally and should rarely be stopped.
Parents should be aware of how prolonged rapid breathing could invariably trigger an asthma attack.
- High-impact sports like soccer, basketball, swimming, and track can be particularly difficult for kids with active asthma.
- It’s important to communicate with teachers and coaches to educate them on how to identify the early signs of an Asthma attack.
- This will allow your children to take a break and prevent a relapse of Asthma symptoms.
There are other preventative measures that can be taken to reduce asthmatic symptoms.
- First and foremost, talk to your pulmonologist about the types of sports your children want to play.
- They will have a wealth of information and be able to advise you on best practices and provide important information on how to use medication before and after active events
- Ask questions, and remember to listen to your child. Following these steps will make your child’s sports experience
How To Be Prepared For Your Kid’s Next Asthma Attack
As of 2023, there is no cure for Asthma.
Asthma can be a lifetime battle for your child and being prepared for all eventualities can be the key to managing their asthma symptoms and developing the best habits that can also be carried into adulthood.
The number one rule for parents is always be prepared for the worst and hope for the best!
Keep your pediatric pulmonologist’s number readily available for parents, teachers, caregivers, and your child.
Advocate For Your Child With Your Doctor
Though schools typically have experience dealing with Asthmatic children, it can be beneficial to meet with and educate your teachers and administrators on specific ways to keep air clean, mitigate dust and respond to your child’s unique symptoms. Work with your doctor on how to develop a plan with your children’s educational institutions
- Common questions to ask your school could be their policies and last inspection dates for mildew and mold.
- If your school has carpeted classrooms, consider requesting your child be moved to a different classroom or have a HEPA filtration machine brought in.
- If animals are kept in the classroom verify their cages are being cleaned regularly.
Consider joining Asthma parent groups on Facebook, or in-person support groups. These will give you new and innovative ideas to control your children’s triggers and help improve their quality of life. Make sure to meet with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your child’s asthma treatment.
- AAFA 2022 Allergy Capitals Report March 2022
- Smoking & Asthma: Effects, Prevention (clevelandclinic.org)