Asthma in Children – Whose Asthma, Whose Medicine

Using medicines to prevent any asthma symptoms is the best way to get back to normal. However, it is tempting for anyone, child or adult, to feel they are cured if the preventive medicine is working properly. This leads them to get lax about using medicines, or even to stop them altogether. Older children may argue that it is their asthma and they know it best.

Cutting down on treatment can lead to a subtle loss of performance which is easy to miss, and there is the increased risk of a sudden asthma attack. At the same time, it is not always necessary to take drugs at the same level and you can sympathise with any youngsters who would like to take lower doses of a drug.

In fact, just as treatments can be stepped up when your child’s asthma is bad, they can also be reduced when it is under better control. Discuss with your doctor whether the time has come to reduce your child’s medication.

If the doses are reduced, peak flow monitoring will help you or your child to check the effects of this.

You may also be worried that you don’t know how much treatment your child is taking while away from you. If so, you could ask for your child to be switched to a dry powder device, which allows you better to see if more of the drug has been used than is usual.

Some children notice side effects with their preventer medicines, e.g. salbutamol (Ventolin) can cause shaky hands, while terbutaline (Bricanyl) may make the legs feel weak and tired. In this case, they may find it preferable to use terbutaline when working in the classroom, and salbutamol when running on the school field.

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