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Niswonger Children’s Hospital Asthma Care


What is Asthma?

Asthma is a condition that affects a child’s breathing by inflamed bronchial tubes within the lungs, making it harder for air to get through. Inflamed airways produce extra mucus, which can effect a child’s breathing quality. Those with asthma may wheeze, cough, and feel tightness in the chest.

Treatment and Prevention

There is no cure for asthma but it can be managed both by the child, families and, if necessary, doctors.  Many children with asthma need two types of medicine: controllers, also called everyday medicines, and quick relievers. Controller medicines help keep airway swelling down and must be used daily, even when the child is feeling well, in order to work best. They are not helpful during an asthma attack, but can help prevent asthma attacks. Quick-reliever (also called rescue) medicines help kids who are having trouble breathing. These medicines make it easier to breathe during an asthma attack and also can help with less serious problems such as coughing or wheezing caused by a cold.

Asthma attacks happen less often if triggers are avoided. Triggers are things that cause people with asthma to cough or wheeze. Some common triggers are:

  • Cigarette smoke. People with asthma should never be around cigarette smoke. No one should smoke in the child’s house or the car in which the child rides. People smoking outside the house should wear a jacket they can leave outside.
  • Colds and illnesses
  • Pets
  • Dust
  • Season changes
  • Weather changes
  • Cold air
  • Playing hard or exercising- if your child has trouble breathing while playing, call your doctor and ask to talk about asthma control.

Asthma control goals:

  • No coughing or wheezing
  • Sleeping through the night
  • Can do regular activities
  • Using quick reliever medicine no more than two times a week

Asthma care at Niswonger Children's Hospital

An important aspect of managing asthma in children is the development of an asthma action plan. Each child admitted to Niswonger Children’s Hospital for asthma receives an individual action plan, which addresses follow-up after discharge from the hospital; identification of asthma triggers such as dust, pollen, weather changes or cigarette smoke; and how and when to administer asthma medications.

Featured Doctor

Dr. Barbara Stewart, Pediatric Pulmonologist Contact: 423-439-7320