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Feature Article

Parents as partners in managing childhood asthma

Louis I Landau

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An updated version is available in the linked supplement

Abstract

Optimal communication between physician, parents and patients is essential for the effective management of childhood asthma. An extensive educational program is necessary to ensure parents and older children understand the natural history of asthma and the roles of particular medications.

Key Points

  • Make sure that the diagnosis of asthma is correct.
  • Assess the severity of the child’s asthma.
  • Provide effective education to parents and older children on pathology, lifestyle and drug regimens.
  • Discuss with parents and older children the triggers of asthma, including allergens, pollutants, diet and exercise.
  • Pharmacotherapy for asthma in children is based on bronchodilators, inhaled corticosteroids and leukotriene modifiers; only occasionally are other drugs used.
  • Alternative therapies have limited efficacy in the management of asthma in children.
  • Good control can usually be achieved with the use of medications, without toxicity, and current understanding on the development of asthma symptoms may lead to a future cure.

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