Asthma's impact on your child's life

Asthma is a challenging condition. It can affect all areas of your child's life.

  • Many children with asthma miss school days. When this happens, have your child call a friend to ask about the work he or she missed. Doing this both keeps your child's schoolwork current and provides him or her with the social contact that school provides.
  • Children may doubt their ability to participate in sports or band. However, if your child uses his or her medications and keeps asthma symptoms under control, he or she will probably be able to participate in activities.
  • Children may be embarrassed about taking medication at school. It may be less embarrassing if your child can take the medication at home or is allowed to keep the medication with him or her at school. However, at times it may be necessary for your child to go to the school nurse or office to take medication.
  • Children may feel they are different from their peers because of the need to avoid situations that trigger asthma symptoms, such as going to the homes of friends with pets. Inviting those friends to your home can help your child interact with other children. However, visitors may carry pet allergens on their clothing and other items, so be aware that your child may need to increase his or her use of asthma-control medications during such visits.
  • Children may be concerned about having an asthma attack at school or around friends. They may fear that they will die during an attack. If symptoms are controlled daily, children will have fewer, less severe asthma attacks.

Most asthma attacks result from a failure to successfully control asthma with medications. By strictly following your child's doctor's recommendations and correctly giving medication to your child, it is possible to prevent asthma attacks from occurring in most children. This can greatly reduce the impact of asthma on your child's life.

Parents sometimes think that their child's asthma is life-threatening even when it is mild. Many parents of children with asthma believe that asthma can affect their child's emotional well-being. You can work with your health professional to learn ways of dealing with asthma to take away some, if not most, of your and your child's anxiety.

Family therapy, such as counseling, may be helpful to children with asthma. A review of studies showed that peak expiratory flow and daytime wheezing improved in children who had therapy compared with those who didn't and that children showed overall improvement from therapy.1

Citations

  1. Yorke J, Shuldham C (2005). Family therapy for chronic asthma in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2). Oxford: Update Software.

Last Updated: March 20, 2009

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Harold S. Nelson, MD - Allergy and Immunology

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