Question: What is the best way to monitor my child's asthma?
Answer: The best way to monitor asthma for patients of all ages is to track daytime symptoms, nighttime awakenings, frequency of the need for rescue medication, such as albuterol, and limitation of activities and missed school or work due to asthma.
Specifically for children, it's important to ask the children themselves some key questions about symptoms and activity limitation, since often the children are not home for large portions of the day. Communicating with your child's teacher, especially the gym teacher, school nurse and, if applicable, their daycare provider, is also important to get a full picture of your child's level of asthma control.
In some school aged children and adults, we can also monitor lung function at home using a device called a peak flow meter. The newest asthma guidelines recommend doing an asthma control test on a regular basis.
It's important to see your asthma healthcare provider at least twice a year for regular checkups and more frequently if your child has more severe asthma. Your healthcare provider should provide you with an asthma action plan for home management. A more detailed lung function test should be performed on a regular basis for school-aged children and adults. And in addition, patients with moderate to severe asthma or poorly controlled asthma should see an asthma specialists such as a board certified allergist or pulmonologist.
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