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How to Use a Dry Powder Inhaler
How to Use a MDI
How to Use a MDI with Spacer
Causes (Triggers) of Asthma Attacks
Severity of an Asthma Attack
|When to Call Your Doctor|
|Call 911 Now (your child may need an ambulance) If|
|Call Your Doctor Now (night or day) If|
|Call Your Doctor Within 24 Hours (between 9 am and 4 pm) If|
|Call Your Doctor During Weekday Office Hours If|
|Parent Care at Home If|
|HOME CARE ADVICE FOR ASTHMA ATTACK|
- Asthma Rescue Medicine:
- Start your child's quick relief medicine (e.g., albuterol inhaler or nebs) at the first sign of any coughing or shortness of breath (don't wait for wheezing). (Reason: Early treatment shortens the asthma attack).
- The best "cough medicine" for a child with asthma is always the asthma medicine.
- Follow your child's action plan for asthma attacks.
- For albuterol inhalers, give 2 puffs separated by a few minutes, every 4 to 6 hours.
- Caution: if the inhaler hasn't been used in over 7 days or is new, test spray it twice into the air before using it for treatment.
- Continue the asthma rescue medicine until your child has not wheezed or coughed for 48 hours.
- Spacer: Always use inhalers with a spacer. It will double the amount of medicine that gets to the lungs.
- Asthma Controller Medicine: If your child is using a controller medicine (e.g., inhaled steroids or cromolyn), continue to give it as directed.
- Hay Fever: For nose allergy symptoms, it's OK to give antihistamines. (Reason: poor control of nasal allergies makes asthma symptoms worse)
- Fluids: Encourage drinking normal amounts of clear fluids (e.g., water) (Reason: keeps the lung mucus from becoming sticky).
- Humidifier: If the air is dry, use a humidifier (Reason: to prevent drying of the upper airway).
- Avoid or Remove Allergens: Give a shower to remove pollens, animal dander, or other allergens from the body and hair. Avoid known triggers of asthma attacks (e.g., tobacco smoke, feather pillows). Avoid exercise during the attack.
- Expected Course: If treatment is started early, most asthma attacks are quickly brought under control. All wheezing should be gone by 5 days.
- Call Your Doctor If:
- Difficulty breathing occurs
- Inhaled asthma medicine (neb or inhaler) is needed more often than every 4 hours
- Wheezing persists over 24 hours
- Your child becomes worse
And remember, contact your doctor if your child develops any of the "Call Your Doctor" symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information.
Author and Senior Reviewer: Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.
Last Reviewed: 11/1/2011
Last Revised: 11/1/2011
Content Set: Pediatric HouseCalls Symptom Checker
Copyright 1994-2012 Barton D. Schmitt, M.D.