Asthma in Children
Asthma is no fun — for your child or for you. Chances are, you’re always nervously waiting for your child’s next attack. And you both wish asthma didn’t keep them away from school, sports and fun events so often. The good news? It doesn’t always have to.
Cleveland Clinic Children’s team of specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating asthma in children. We’ll combine the right treatment with a personalized asthma action plan to help manage your child’s asthma and prevent attacks, so they can get back to having fun — and you both can breathe easier.
Why Choose Cleveland Clinic Children's to Care for Asthma in Children?
We create a personalized asthma treatment plan to help your child avoid things that cause (trigger) attacks and know what to do when attacks happen. We’ll also help them cope with common asthma-related conditions, like sleep issues, anxiety, skin problems and hay fever (seasonal allergies).
Everyone in your child’s life (family members, friends, teachers, coaches, babysitters) needs to know how to prevent and treat your child’s asthma attacks. We’ll teach you and anyone who helps care for your child what to do if an attack happens.
It’s important to have expert asthma care close to home. Our asthma experts are located throughout our communities. We’ll try to coordinate appointments so you can meet with several specialists in one visit. Meet our team.
We understand it can be tough getting kids to appointments. That’s why we also offer virtual visits for some appointments. You and your child can meet one-on-one with their providers from home. All you need is an internet connection and a smartphone, computer or tablet.
U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks Cleveland Clinic Children’s a top hospital in the nation. Newsweek has also named Cleveland Clinic a top hospital in the world.
Diagnosing Asthma in Children
To diagnose and treat your child’s asthma, we’ll first want to understand their experience with it. We’ll talk to you and your child about what kind of symptoms they’re having — like wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath or always feeling tired — and what triggers these symptoms. We’ll also ask if anyone else in your family has breathing problems.
Then, we’ll give your child a physical exam, focusing on their nose, mouth, lungs and skin. We might also have them do a few tests.At Cleveland Clinic Children's, we use the latest technology to check how well your child’s lungs work.
And we do these tests in a dedicated space that’s just for kids. Our experts carefully supervise your child during all these tests so they’re safe and comfortable.
Your child’s provider may use a thin tube with a camera on the end to look inside their airways. The test, called a bronchoscopy, is minimally invasive but can be a little uncomfortable. Our specialists are experts in doing this test on children and always use deep sedation or anesthesia to keep your child calm and comfortable.
Spirometry is a painless test that measures how much air your child can breathe out and how quickly. Your child takes a deep breath and blows into a tube connected to a machine. Our technicians might also do the test after giving your child a bronchodilator, a medication that relaxes and opens their airways.
Allergy testing and bronchoprovocation
Allergy testing involves either a blood test or intentionally, but carefully, exposing your child’s skin to small doses of suspected allergens, like dust, mold, pet dander or pollen.
Bronchoprovocation is a similar test. Your child will inhale cold air or air that contains substances that may trigger their asthma. The results can help your child’s care team understand what causes their attacks.
Cleveland Clinic Children’s also offers special tests called biomarker tests. We’ll do these tests on the air your child breathes out, a bit of spit or a small blood sample. The results can help us identify what’s causing your child’s asthma or predict how your child might respond to different types of treatments.
Asthma biomarker testing is a new testing tool that’s not available everywhere. This method is particularly helpful in treating children who’ve had other treatments that haven’t helped manage their asthma attacks.
Meet the Team That Care for Asthma in Children
Our providers work exclusively with kids, so they’re experts at keeping them calm and comfortable during tests and treatment. Your child’s pediatric care team may include:
Providers Who Treat Asthma in Children
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Treating Asthma in Children
Pediatric asthma is a treatable, but lifelong, condition. If you’re child has asthma, there are a few things you’ll want to do right away, including:
- Making sure your child’s school has emergency medications and necessary paperwork.
- Checking your home for asthma triggers, like secondhand smoke and allergens.
- Helping your child maintain a weight that’s healthy for them.
- Helping your child use inhalers and other medications the right way.
- Making sure their vaccines are up to date.
Asthma action plan
Next, your child’s providers will work with you to develop a personalized asthma action plan. This plan explains in detail how to help manage your child’s asthma and help prevent attacks. It will include:
- What can trigger your child’s asthma.
- Specific ways to avoid or minimize those triggers.
- How to know when your child is starting to have an asthma attack.
- What to do during an attack.
- What medicines to take, including how much and when, plus how to use an inhaler the right way.
- When and how to get emergency medical help.
And you can always call us — 24 hours a day — if you need help for your child’s asthma.
Depending on your child’s overall health and their test results, our pediatric providers can recommend medications to help prevent and treat your child’s asthma attacks.
Asthma medications range from proven, traditional options to the newest innovations. We may combine long-term medications designed to prevent attacks with quick solutions to treat your child’s attacks when they happen. Treatment options might include:
- Allergy shots to intentionally expose your child’s body to asthma triggers and help build tolerance.
- Corticosteroids (inhaler or pill) to reduce swelling in their airways.
- Inhalers containing short-acting beta2-agonists (SABAs) or anticholinergics to open their airways.
- Medications, such as long-term bronchodilators and leukotriene modifiers to reduce swelling and keep their airways open.
- Anti-IgE therapy to prevent their immune system from having allergic reactions.
- Anti-interleukin-5 therapy to help with bad, poorly managed pediatric asthma, despite other treatments.
We can also connect you and your child with other specialists who can treat any asthma-related problems, like trouble sleeping, anxiety, skin problems and allergies. All your child’s pediatric providers will work together to keep an eye on your child as they grow, adjusting their care plan, if needed, so the treatment they’re getting is always matches their needs.
Taking the Next Step
When your child has asthma, it can affect their physical and mental health and how well they do in school. It can also make it harder for them to socialize and do fun kid things. And it can be tough on your whole family, too. That’s why it’s important to have a specific care plan that focuses on managing their asthma, preventing attacks and treating them when they happen. Cleveland Clinic Children’s asthma experts can help get your child’s asthma well managed so they can live a full, active life.
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