Asthma Zones on 06/22/17

Is there anything I can do to help my child avoid asthma attacks?
You can help your child avoid asthma attacks by keeping him or her away from triggers (also called allergens) that can start an asthma attack. Here are examples of triggers: How can I keep my child away from these asthma triggers? You can reduce the asthma triggers in your home by following these steps:
  1. Cover your child's mattress, pillows and box spring with an airtight vinyl or nylon case that zips shut.
  2. Remove carpets from your home, and use a damp mop to clean linoleum or wood floors. You may use throw rugs that can be machine washed.
  3. Instead of drapes and cloth-covered furniture, use washable curtains or vinyl shades and furniture you can wipe with a damp cloth, especially in your child's bedroom.
  4. Wash sheets, blankets and pillows, throw rugs and stuffed animals often, using hot water to kill dust mites.
  5. Use pillows or comforters filled with polyester instead of feathers.
  6. Use cotton or acrylic blankets that can be machine washed. Don't use wool blankets unless they can be machine washed.
  7. Keep the humidity in your house below 50 percent when possible. Dust mites and mold grow best in damp areas. You may have to use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to keep the humidity low.
  8. Wipe bathroom surfaces with a solution of bleach and water, and use bleach to clean in the basement and other damp areas to reduce mold and mildew. Try to keep fresh air flowing into these areas, and use a dehumidifier to keep the air dry.
  9. Try not to have pets with fur or feathers, or at least keep them out of your child's bedroom. If you have cats or dogs, shampoo and brush them often.
  10. Keep your child's bedroom windows closed to keep pollen out. An air conditioner will help keep pollen out of your home. During the days when your child's asthma is worse, you may want to limit outdoor activities.
  11. Use a clothes dryer instead of hanging the laundry outside, to keep pollen from getting on clothes and sheets.
  12. Don't smoke cigarettes, pipes or cigars in your home or allow anyone else to smoke there. Help your child stay away from cigarette smoke in other places. Teach your child never to smoke.

How can I tell if my child's asthma is serious?
Have your child use a peak flow meter every day. A peak flow meter measures how well air gets out of your child's lungs. People with asthma have lower air flow in and out of their lungs than other people. Measuring peak flow levels can help you see problems with your child's air flow before he or she has any symptoms of asthma. A meter also helps tell you and your doctor how serious your child's asthma attack is. You'll be able to see when your child should take more medicine or when you need emergency care for your child. The peak flow readings may also help you find the triggers that make your child's asthma symptoms worse.

How is a peak flow meter used?
To use a peak flow meter, your child should follow these steps:

  1. Move the indicator to the bottom of the numbered scale.
  2. Have your child stand up.
  3. Have your child take a deep breath.Close his or her lips around the mouthpiece of the flow meter. The tongue should not go inside the tube.
  4. Have your child blow out as hard and fast as possible.
The indicator on the flow meter will move up. Write down the number where it stops. Have your child repeat steps 1 through 5 two more times. Write down the highest of the three numbers on the peak flow meter record chart. I will tell you when to have your child use the peak flow meter and how to find out your child's 'personal best' score. The personal best score is the highest score your child gets in two weeks of recording, when the asthma is under good control. After you know your child's personal best score, you compare the daily peak flow score with the personal best score.

What is the peak flow zone system?
Once you know your child's personal best peak flow score, you can help to manage his/her asthma by checking the peak flow every morning and evening. Peak flow scores are put in 'zones' like the colors in traffic lights: green, yellow and red.

Green Zone: This is a score that is 80% to 100% of the personal best score (0 to ). It signals all clear. No symptoms are present, and your child can use his/her medicines as usual:

Yellow Zone: This is a score that is 50% to 80% of the personal best score (0 to 0). It signals caution. Your child may be coughing, wheezing and feeling moderately short of breath. He/she may need extra asthma medicine. Do the following:

If your child is still in the yellow zone after 20-60 minutes, do the following:
If after another 20-60 minutes, your child does not feel better and his/her peak flow is still under , then you should call me and start prednisone if you have it.

Red Zone: This is a score that is below 50% of the personal best score (less than 0). It signals a medical alert. Your child is probably coughing, very short of breath, and may have trouble walking or talking because of the shortness of breath. Your child may not be wheezing, because his/her air flow is so low. Your child should use his/her inhaler right away.

Call me right away for more advice, and start prednisone if you have it. Antibiotics may be needed as well.