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Asthma In Children

Handling An Emergency

Friday, March 16, 2012 - 17:26

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

You will have worked out a plan with your doctor and this plan should be followed:

  • Remain calm and confident.
  • Give the prescribed medication.
  • Immediate relief usually occurs after taking bronchodilator medication. This can be repeated after five to ten minutes.
  • Encourage the child to breathe slowly and deeply.
  • Loosen any tight clothing.
  • The child should sit in a comfortable position and not lie down.
  • Use the peak flow meter to make sure that the medication has been effective in returning the peak flow to the green zone.
  • Determine if any triggers that may have caused the attack are still in the environment and remove them.
  • Make a note for the doctor about the attack.

If The Attack Gets Serious

It is important to know what to do if the medication doesn't seem to be working or the attack gets much more serious.

  • Your plan may call for you to repeat the bronchodilator medication (usually not more than twice, at 15- to 30-minute intervals), and to begin steroid medication.
  • If there has been no improvement within five minutes after beginning bronchodilator treatment, or if an attack occurs again in less than two hours, then you will need to call your doctor or go immediately to the emergency department.

Need To Information

What not to do:

  • Don't give more rescue medication than the doctor prescribed. This can cover up symptoms and make the asthma harder to treat.
  • Don't expect a severe attack to go away on its own. If the normal medication doesn't work, call your doctor or go immediately to the emergency department.

If the child goes to the emergency department:

  • Bronchodilator medication will be given through a nebulizer or another breathing device.
  • Steroid medication may be given to quickly reduce the inflammation in the air passages.
  • The child may be given fluids through an IV tube placed directly into a vein, usually in the arm.
  • The asthma attack will then settle and the child quickly recovers. Sometimes the child may be admitted to the hospital for a day or two.
  • The child's regular anti-inflammatory medication is usually increased for a short period after a severe attack to help settle the inflammation.

After The Attack

You should encourage the child to return to his normal activities.

Asthma In Children