Jacob was diagnosed with asthma when he was about 4 years old. He regularly suffered with coughs throughout his early years, and there was never a winter where he didn’t get croup. Kevin suffers with asthma, so with that family history in mind I took him to the specialist asthma clinic at our doctors surgery, and he was diagnosed and given inhalers to help control the symptoms.
Overall, we manage his asthma well, but we often find it flares up in the summer. Jacob also suffers with hay fever, and this seems to exacerbate his symptoms. Whilst we feel we manage the kids asthma well, new research by LloydsPharmacy has found that 1 in 3 people caring for a child with asthma would like more lifestyle advice, so here a few things we have found to help:
- Using a preventer inhaler when the pollen count is high. This seems to stop the symptoms from bothering him too much.
- Hay fever remedies. Taking an anti-histamine in the morning also helps to stop the runny nose, itchy eyes and sneezing which seem to go hand in hand with an asthma flare up.
- Avoid too much exercise during the hottest part of the day. Easier said than done with a very active little boy, but we try and hit the park early in the morning, and make the most of the lighter evenings by playing football after dinner.
- Drink, drink, drink. Jacob isn’t the greatest at remembering to stay hydrated, but when he does he always seems to cope better. Makes sense really – drinking enough water helps with almost everything!
- Keeping windows closed. I keep Jacob’s bedroom window shut during the day, with the curtains closed to stop it overheating. During the night, I keep it open so he has a good air flow.
Caring for a child with asthma can be difficult. They don’t always understand how best to manage their condition, and if they are at school or nursery during the day, they often forget to keep on top of medications. Research carried out by LloydsPharmacy showed that 43% of people caring for a child with asthma say there could be more information available on how to manage the condition, and over a third (38%) felt worried about how to manage their child’s asthma and how to stop them from having an attack when they were first diagnosed. There is just so much to think about – it can be a potentially serious condition, and I do feel like it often isn’t seen as such. 12% of people caring for a child with asthma say they wouldn’t know what to do if their child had an asthma attack.
The LloydsPharmacy Asthma Support Service can help parents and children to manage their asthma, providing general information about how to control asthma symptoms including how to manage their child’s asthma at school. An inhaler check will be used to improve technique, which involves asking the child to demonstrate how they use their inhaler and provide any guidance, if necessary. Children’s asthma support leaflets from Asthma UK will be given to parents to help them manage their child’s asthma when they’re at home, away from an expert. Children aged 12+ can also have an Asthma Control Test. This will help the pharmacist to determine how well they have managed their asthma medicines during the past four weeks and identify whether parents and children could benefit from further advice. The Asthma Support pack also contains helpful tips and advice on:
- Asthma symptoms
- How to manage your asthma triggers
- Asthma and allergy season
Fur us, it’s been a bit of a juggle to find what works for Jacob. We know that summer is worse for him, and so we try to manage that as detailed above. Luckily, exercise doesn’t affect him too much, which is a relief for a football mad boy. He is about to go away on a 4 day residential trip with school, which has been a little bit of a worry for me, wondering if he will manage his inhalers himself. Because of this, we have an appointment booked with the LloydsPharmacy Asthma Support service, so we can make sure he knows how to use his inhalers correctly, as well as getting some tips about the best times to take them, and what hay fever remedies are best to use alongside.
Do you have a child with asthma? You can book your LloydsPharmacy Asthma Support appointment on their website, or pop into your local store for further information.