Taking care of your child's isn't just your child's job - as a parent, you probably monitor your child's symptoms daily, remind your child to take controller medicine and carry an inhaler, and take steps to prevent an attack, like vacuuming regularly. According to researchers at Syracuse University in New York, the National Jewish Medical Research Center and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, and SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, your family's asthma routines may influence your child's asthma control.
One hundred fifty-three families with a child with asthma completed surveys about asthma medication use and routines at home. Parents noted how often their child wheezed, woke at night, and limited activities because of asthma; they also reported how often their child was hospitalized or visited the emergency department or doctor because of asthma symptoms. Parents also answered questions about how often they followed asthma management routines suggested by their child's doctor or other health professionals. Routines used to manage asthma included house cleaning, taking medications on time, and filling prescriptions. Parents also noted whether managing their child's asthma was a burden and described the role they took in managing the disease.
Overall, researchers found that having specific asthma routines helped children and parents remember to stick to medication schedules. With regular routines, parents found it easier to monitor their children's medications, and their children rarely or never forgot to take their medications.
A parent's attitude toward asthma management also affected the quality of life for both the child and parent. In general, parents of children who needed more asthma care (in the form of hospitalizations and doctor and emergency department visits) tended to believe that asthma routines were a burdensome chore. In addition, parents who thought that caring for their children's asthma was a burden said they had trouble reminding their children to take their medications. Also, if a parent said that asthma management was a burden, the child was more likely to report a lower quality of life.
What This Means to You: In this study, children of parents who had established regular medication routines took their medications more often than kids whose parents didn't have such routines. Talk to your child's doctor about the best way to establish asthma routines, which may depend on when and how often your child needs to take medication. He or she can suggest helpful strategies like placing the asthma medication with your child's toothbrush so he or she doesn't forget to take it.
Source: Barbara H. Fiese, PhD; Frederick S. Wamboldt, MD; Ran D. Anbar, MD; Journal of Pediatrics, February 2005
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: March 2005