Are There Any Alternative Approaches To Prescription Medication For Treating My Child's Asthma?

Michelle Bailey, M.D, Duke

Question: Are there any alternative approaches to prescription medication for treating my child's asthma?

Answer:Many conditions respond well to complementary therapies and integrative approaches. Asthma is one such condition.

First, make sure that your child has a healthy physical environment. There are different allergens that may be in the environment, from dogs and cats, as well as dust mites that can trigger your child's asthma symptoms.

It's also important to pay attention to proper nutrition. There are foods that can promote more inflammation, and asthma is considered an inflammatory condition. Instead, opt for anti-inflammatory products. These would include antioxidants, which can be found in fruits and vegetables. Also, omega-3 fatty acids, which can be found naturally in fish such as salmon and tuna, as well as nuts, like almonds and walnuts. If you find that your child will not take in these substances, you can try offering a multivitamin or a nutritional supplement.

Stress can also trigger asthma symptoms in many children. Relaxation strategies and techniques may be one way to help alleviate the stress that children are feeling, which can help decrease the frequency of asthma attacks. Relaxation strategies would include things like visualization, where kids are using their imagination to help them feel calmer and less anxious. Also, relaxation breathing, taking in deep slow breaths, and then letting out the air gradually can help break symptoms that come from the stress response, and induce relaxation instead.

Talk to your healthcare provider about these and other strategies to help manage your child's asthma.

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