Changes to the National Asthma Council Australia asthma guidelines in the recently released Australian Asthma Handbook include age-specific recommendations on diagnosis, assessment and management of asthma in children.
- Diagnosis of asthma in children is based primarily on the presence of variable respiratory symptoms supported by spirometric evidence of reversible airflow limitation where feasible and/or response to asthma treatment.
- The use and choice of preventer treatment should be guided by the pattern of asthma symptoms whereas ongoing management should be guided by asthma control.
- Management recommendations differ between children aged 0 to 5 years and older children, with a lower threshold for specialist referral in younger children.
- Most children who require an asthma preventer will achieve good control with montelukast or low-dose inhaled corticosteroids.
- Education about asthma and inhaler use and provision of a written asthma action plan are as important as medications in ensuring good asthma control.
Picture credit: © 2014 Audra Geras Illustration Inc.