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Tracking and Treating Asthma in Young Children

Tracking and Treating Asthma in Young Children
By Thomas F. Plaut, M.D.


ABSTRACT: The use of a signs-based diary can be a valuable tool for monitoring asthma in young children who cannot use peak flow meters. By keeping a record of their child’s coughing, wheezing, retractions, and respiratory rate, parents can learn whether their child has persistent asthma, learn to identify triggers, and learn to identify the early signs of worsening asthma. Each asthma sign is scored on the basis of frequency or severity. The total score tells parents how severe the episode is and guides treatment. The results are classified into 1 of 4 color-coded asthma zones, each of which has a specific action plan. In the High Yellow Zone, the parent doubles the dosage of an inhaled corticosteroid and gives an inhaled beta2-agonist. Children in the Red Zone-the danger zone-should receive an inhaled beta2-agonist and prednisolone. If this does not get them out of the danger zone within 10 minutes, and if they do not stay out of that zone for 4 hours, they should go to the emergency department or to their doctor’s office if the office is equipped for emergencies.

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Tracking and Treating Asthma in Young Children

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