Asthma is a frequent health problem in children. It is chronic. There are more than 3 million cases per year in the USA. It can be a minor problem or it can interfere with daily activities. In some cases can be life-threatening. As adults get older the illness can decrease in frequency and severity. We need to instruct our patients that certain foods can trigger asthma symptoms, for example milk, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, soy, and wheat might be responsible. Children with asthma should have a humidifier in their rooms, avoid sleeping with pets, avoid dust, and avoid dust mites, that can get in sheets and pillows.
We need to tell the parents as well as the child to try to always have inhalers available. The most common are beta agonist, which give quick bronchodilatation, also useful are steroids and leukotrine modifiers.
We as nurse practitioners are in a unique place to give appropriate health care advice, by instructing the patient and their parents or caregivers what to avoid in the environment and the diet, and what things would be beneficial. On of the most common question is what foods to avoid and which ones to use. All exercises are useful but never to over do it. Some individuals can have an attack trigger by vigorous exercise. Also avoid changes in temperatures,because it is well known that bronchospasm occurs in colder temperatures.
In my personal experience I had a 5 year old that developed attacks of difficulty breathing, which was treated successfully in the emergency room on several occasions, when we got involved with the family, we were able to obtain an extensive history, including the fact that they had recently moved to a new house, which turned out to have lot of mold, when this was addressed then the frequency and severity of the attacks diminished.
Stucky, B. D., Sherbourne, C. D., Edelen, M. O., & Eberhart, N. K. (2015). Understanding asthma-specific quality of life: moving beyond asthma symptoms and severity. The European respiratory journal, 46(3), 680-7.
Van Aalderen W. M. (2012). Childhood asthma: diagnosis and treatment. Scientifica, 2012, 674204.