There is widespread concern about insufficient control of symptoms in asthmatic children. Symptomatic asthma in childhood may cause lifelong effects on lung function and disease severity, and thus the need for improved paediatric asthma control is emphasized.1 Children need to rely on adults’ help to reach and maintain control of asthma, and parents need to play an essential role in this. Paediatric asthma patients and their parents should be educated to optimally manage the disease, in collaboration with healthcare professionals.2 Therefore, healthcare professionals need to be sufficiently equipped with practical guidance that they can provide to the parents of asthmatic children.
According to Dr Will Carroll, Consultant Paediatrician at University Hospital of the North Midlands in the UK, parents often underestimate the risks of asthma and assume that everything is under control. Instead, they should stay vigilant in managing their child’s health by asking the right questions. Signs suggesting that a child’s asthma is not under control can include: difficulties in child’s daily activities, such as sports and play, shortness of breath during the day, any night-time asthma symptoms, and extensive use of reliever medication.
“We want to make sure that the young person isn’t relying on their reliever, because children who rely on their relievers are at increased risk”, says Dr Carroll.
What parents should know about their child’s asthma:
Listen to Dr Will Carroll’s tips to parents with asthmatic children.
Dr Carroll reminds that the risks of asthma are preventable, although it requires patience and practice. Having a plan and patiently following it is of great importance. Likewise, it is necessary to practice the correct use of the inhaler device together with the child.
Having an inhaler device that is easy to use, such as Easyhaler3,4, requires less practice and makes the child’s satisfaction with the device higher5,6. Together with a parent acting as a coach, the child can reduce the mistakes of inhaler use and thereby improve overall asthma control.
Dr Carroll doesn't want any parent to settle with their child’s ongoing asthma symptoms, and encourages them to aim higher in asthma control. Healthcare professionals can help in this by reminding the parents to ask the right questions of their child and then truly listen to the answers. In this way, parents will know how well their child is doing, and together with healthcare professionals can decide the right course of action.