Children's Hospital Colorado

Asthma Program at Children’s Hospital Colorado

A boy with brown hair breathes out while his doctor watches in the background. Best Children's Hospital by US News Pulmonology 2020-1 Badge

If your child has asthma, a supportive team of pediatric specialists makes all the difference in managing their care. Children’s Hospital Colorado works with your family to customize a treatment plan so your child can enjoy a healthy, active life. Our Asthma Program cares for more than 5,000 children of all ages each year, including more than 700 with high-risk asthma. We also help decrease emergency room visits and hospitalizations related to asthma.

What is asthma?

Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and it’s why many children are admitted to Children’s Colorado. Asthma is a respiratory (breathing) condition that causes the body’s airways to tighten and swell, making breathing difficult. Your child may have asthma symptoms like coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, or shortness of breath.

Children with asthma have sensitive airways, and many things around them (triggers) can make their asthma worse. Triggers are different for each child. Common triggers include allergies, cold air, viruses, smoke exposure and exercise.

Asthma is different for every child, and every family needs an asthma action plan for managing it. Poorly controlled asthma can harm lung function and increase the risk for emergency room visits and hospitalization.

Controlling asthma improves your child’s health and quality of life. A child with well-controlled asthma can run and play easily, go to school every day and sleep without coughing.

About the Asthma Program at Children’s Colorado

Our pediatric asthma experts support your family through Children’s Colorado’s Breathing Institute, where we specialize in children’s lung health. Your child’s care team includes:

  • Pulmonologists (lung experts) and allergists
  • Advanced practice providers: Nurse practitioners and physician assistants
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Registered nurses and medical assistants
  • Dietitians and clinical social workers
  • Community health liaisons, including patient navigators, community health workers and school asthma counselors

Many of our asthma experts are certified asthma educators who help you and your child manage asthma in your home, school and community.

Learn about our pulmonary medicine research

Asthma diagnosis

Our team uses the latest child-friendly methods to thoroughly assess your child’s control of their asthma and triggers. We may recommend one or more of these diagnostic methods, based on your child’s age, symptoms and other factors:

  • Spirometry or impulse oscillometry: child-friendly breathing tests
  • Skin allergen testing: identifies if your child has seasonal or environmental asthma triggers
  • In-home assessment and education: provided through the Just Keep Breathing asthma home visit program, a community-based asthma initiative

Providers may consider an asthma diagnosis if your child has two or more episodes of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, or shortness of breath that respond to an inhaled medication. Children with allergies or a history of asthma in their mother, father or siblings are more likely to develop asthma.

Asthma education

Gain the knowledge you need to control your child’s asthma. Our certified asthma educators empower you with information about your child’s unique triggers, symptoms and treatment options, including medication and devices. We often educate families on using these tools to manage asthma:

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We are certified as an Asthma Self-Management Education program by the American Association for Respiratory Care. This designation is given to programs that adhere to high standards in leadership, resources to support care, continual improvement and more.

Are you looking to learn more about how we're providing care during the coronavirus pandemic? See our family-friendly coronavirus resources.

Asthma treatment

Every child has unique triggers and symptoms, so asthma requires personalized care. We help you develop an asthma action plan that meets your child’s needs and suits your family’s routine. This plan helps remove barriers to treatment and reduce symptoms, flare-ups and emergency room visits.

You play an important role in your child’s health. Our team takes the time to answer your questions and concerns and provide the tools you need to manage asthma. We also coordinate communication between your child’s healthcare providers so you have a clear path forward. When it’s best for your child and family, we will provide care via telehealth to help manage your child’s asthma.

We know that health insurance coverage for asthma treatment is a concern for some families. Our team clearly communicates the financial details you need to make informed decisions about your child’s care. Our Patient Financial Services team can help answer your questions related to insurance, billing and payments.

Multidisciplinary treatment for severe and high-risk asthma

Our Multidisciplinary Asthma Clinic (MAC) serves kids with difficult-to-treat and severe asthma when medication and standard therapies haven’t helped. Turn to MAC if your child has frequent flare-ups, more than two asthma-related ER visits or more than one asthma-related hospitalization. MAC offers:

  • A dedicated team of providers who specialize in pulmonology, allergy care and social work
  • Access to nutrition and psychology services, as well as speech therapy, as needed
  • Assessment for hidden triggers and other medical diagnoses that complicate asthma care
  • Support in coping with stressors and accessing treatment resources
  • Coordinated, multidisciplinary care to streamline appointments and improve communication among caregivers

These appointments are held in the Multidisciplinary Clinic on the third floor of our hospital on Anschutz Medical Campus.

Why choose us for asthma care

Turn to Children’s Colorado for comprehensive, specialized care for pediatric asthma. We offer:

  • Pediatric asthma expertise: At more than 170 experts strong, our hospital has one of the nation’s largest programs focusing on children’s lung health. Our staff dedicate much of their careers to working with kids who have asthma, from simple to complex cases. The Environmental Protection Agency recognized our program with the 2020 National Environmental Leadership Award in Asthma Management — its highest level of recognition for programs that manage environmental asthma triggers and improve the lives of people with asthma.
  • Proven and emerging treatment methods: Our team uses the latest evidence-based practices to treat asthma and prevent it from getting worse. We also conduct cutting-edge studies and school-based research to advance asthma care, explore new treatments and discover prevention methods.
  • Community-based approach: We work closely with primary care providers, schools and other community partners to promote healthy outcomes and reduce asthma-related ER visits. Our community-based asthma initiatives include the school-based AsthmaCOMP and Just Keep Breathing home visit programs, and asthma camps. We also provide school asthma action plans to help your child manage asthma and focus on learning.