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Do you think your little one might be experiencing asthma symptoms, but you’re not completely sure? This week, Tracy Bush, a Food Allergy Consultant, offers recommendations on how to identify asthma in toddlers, as well as some tips on teaching your little one to understand their own health.
Asthma is a common trigger of various conditions such as eczema. Developing a personalized plan based on their unique symptoms, as well as understanding their asthma, will allow you to be better prepared.
ILW Recommends: If you believe your little one might be experiencing eczema due to asthma, make sure to visit our blog post on Atopic March, a unique progression of eczema, asthma and hay fever.
By Tracy Bush (see bio below)
Having a toddler is a unique experience in itself but then throw in asthma as a factor and parenting may just reach that extra level of now what? The thought of a toddler asthma attack is simply frightening. Especially for first time parents, understanding which symptoms to look for can sometimes be confusing.
Advice is offered by so many people with differing opinions that often times, parents tend to feel guilty for whatever they decide to do.
Let’s face it – children do cry a lot. Children tend to be more susceptible to colds and infections, which can delay a proper diagnosis of asthma in toddlers.
According to Allergy & Asthma Network “most children with asthma have symptoms before they turn 5. In very young children, it may be hard for parents, and even doctors, to recognize that these symptoms are due to asthma. The bronchial tubes in infants, toddlers and preschoolers are already small and narrow, and head colds, chest colds and other illnesses can inﬂame these airways, making them even smaller and more irritated.”
How can you handle this as a parent of a toddler and what are some things to consider?
Remember Your Strength Matters Too
It’s very easy to get wrapped up in your toddler’s health issues and most parents will put themselves last to keep their children safe. The best thing to keep in mind when trying to figure out how to handle your toddler’s ailments is to also consider your own health. As much as we want to ensure that every cough and wheeze is looked upon before it can get worse, we are of no use to anyone if our physical condition gets worn down in the process.
Although easier said than done, make it a habit to mimic your toddler’s schedule when possible – eat when they eat, nap or relax when they relax and most of all, remember to laugh because laughing has proven stress relief with no side effects.
Keep Calm When Possible
There is a saying that your children will react how you react; this is especially the case if they see you as constantly being upset, having a meltdown, feeling anxious and whatever else you truly need to express. To be blunt – if you panic, so will your toddler, which may amplify symptoms even more. Try utilizing strategies that you may already be doing as a teaching tool to check for asthma in toddler signs such as:
- Asking them to wiggle various body parts and ask how it feels: Regardless of what they say, clap and offer a silly gesture such as “One thumb down, what’s the next thing you want to wiggle?” This keeps them engaged, calm and helps you pinpoint any possible asthma in toddler signs.
- Toys are always a great tool: Ask them to play as the doctor with their favorite stuffed animal and then ask them to have their toy do the same for them. Their stuffed animal will often share more of the areas that are giving your toddler discomfort. Remember to play along to keep communication going with your toddler.
- Invest in toddler-safe medical kits: If you suspect that your toddler may have asthma, it may be easier to teach your toddler about what they need to do by first having them feel as if they know what to do for themselves with their toy version. Empowering your toddler as early as possible makes understanding their asthma care a routine, versus a negative or scary situation such as a toddler asthma attack.
ILW recommends: How to Control Asthma at Night
Empower Your Toddler
Parents want to shield their children from anything negative, which is completely normal and understandable. However, teaching your toddler about what their asthma is, and what they can do to let you know how to help them when they need it, will give them understanding and responsibility for their care.
Children are like sponges – they absorb so much more than we tend to think they do.
Consider also how to involve them in their health decisions. Trying to keep discussions with doctors or asthma plans a secret may cause additional, unnecessary worry for them.
Rather than having your toddler associate them not feeling well with looks of concern and whispering, allow them to be involved. Just as we teach them to tie their shoes so they don’t trip, give them the understanding to know that open discussions about what is going on when they don’t feel quite right will be followed by actions, not reactions.
Ultimately, every parent has to feel comfortable with whatever they decide to follow for their toddler’s asthma. Remember that understanding sometimes means not understanding all of the details right away – there will be bumps in the road.
Discuss an appropriate asthma care plan with your physician and consider how to adjust the plan while your toddler grows. Be sure all necessary medications are available to stay proactive and prepared for unexpected toddler asthma attacks and possible triggers. Most of all, remember to exhale together.
Bio: Tracy Bush (also known as Nutrimom® – Food Allergy Liaison) is a Food Allergy Consultant, Author, Blogger, Mother & Self-professed “Kitchen Geek”. Her resources are a mixture of product reviews, recipes and advice mixed with a tinge of humor and can be found at AllergyPhoods.com.