Educating yourself and your child about asthma

Educating yourself and your family about asthma is essential for you and your child to have control of the disease. If you understand asthma, you will have an easier time following the different aspects of treatment, such as avoiding substances that cause symptoms (triggers) and knowing what to do during an asthma attack.

Educate yourself or your child about:

  • Asthma. Learn all that you can from your health professional about asthma, such as the long-term effects of not treating asthma and the best ways for you or your child to manage the disease.
  • Medications. Learn all that you can about how each of your medications or your child's medications helps to treat asthma. Find out about side effects that may occur and what to do if side effects become bothersome.

Part of education is effectively communicating what you don't understand and what you are concerned about.

  • Always ask questions when you don't understand something about the treatment.
  • Discuss any fears and concerns that you or your child may have regarding treatment.
  • Tell your health professional if treatment is disrupting your life; you may be able to find another way to treat your asthma with less disruption.
  • Tell your health professional if treatment is not helping asthma attacks.
  • Tell your health professional if you are not able to follow any aspect of your treatment.

If your child has asthma, you may want to talk with teachers and other school officials about asthma. They can help your child follow his or her treatment plans. You should have a copy of your child's asthma action plan (which tells what to do during an asthma attack) on file in the school office, with the school nurse, and with sports coaches so that school staff will know what to do if your child has an attack at school.

Last Updated: March 20, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology

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