7 Surprising Facts About Asthma

Which Meds Does Your Child Need?

There are two types: those that ease asthma symptoms quickly by relaxing the smooth muscle in the airways ("rescue" medications including bronchodilators like ProAir and Ventolin) and ones used for long-term prevention that reduce inflammation in the airways ("controller" meds including inhaled corticosteroids such as Flovent or Pulmicort). "Kids with persistent symptoms should always be on controller medications," says Dr. William E. Berger. "If the inflammation that comes with asthma is untreated, airway function can deteriorate." To assess whether your child's asthma is under control, your doctor should consider how often he is experiencing wheezing, coughing, breathlessness, and nighttime awakenings, how often he needs his rescue meds, how the asthma affects him, and how well his lungs are functioning.

Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Parents magazine.

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