Childhood Asthma

Childhood Asthma

Information Resources

By Evelyn Cunico, MA, MS/LIS
Posted February 27, 2018


Asthma is a disease that affects your airways. Your airways are tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs. If you have asthma and you experience an asthma attack, the inside walls of your airways become sore and swollen, and your airways fill with mucus. The swelling and mucus cause the airways to narrow, making breathing difficult.


In the United States, the number of adults aged 18 and over who currently have asthma is nearly 20 million, which translates to more than seven percent of U.S. adults aged 18 and over. The number of U.S. children under the age of 18 who currently have asthma is more than six million, which translates to more than eight percent of U.S. children aged 18 and under, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Causes and Triggers

No one knows for certain why some persons develop asthma. Experts believe that causes may include hereditary genes, overweight, and environmental factors.

A key part of asthma in children is an allergic reaction, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Allergens are also called, triggers. One way that parents can help to control childhood asthma is by avoiding triggers.

The following tips can help to avoid triggers:

  • Get rid of tobacco smoke in the home. This is the single most important thing that a family can do to help a child with asthma, according to the A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.
  • Keep the house clean by changing the linens often, vacuuming regularly, and keeping food in containers and out of bedrooms, according to KidsHealth at the Nemours Foundation.
  • Keep pets away from the child’s bedroom, according to the National Library of Medicine.

Asthma Action Plan

You and your child’s healthcare providers can work together as a team to create and carry out an Asthma Action Plan, which is a care plan that helps to control asthma.

An Asthma Action Plan will give you the following instructions:

  • How to avoid asthma triggers
  • How to watch for symptoms
  • How to Use a Peak Flow Meter, which measures air flow to and from the lungs
  • How to take asthma medicines for long-term control or for quick relief

Asthma that is not well controlled can lead to lasting lung problems. However, with proper treatment, most children with asthma can live a normal life.

For more information, see the Selected Information Resources that follow this blog post.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this blog should not replace the medical advice of your doctor. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease, illness, or other health condition without first consulting with your medical doctor or other healthcare provider.

Selected Information Resources

American Academy of Physicians. Asthma Triggers and What to Do About Them.
Summary Note: Lists asthma triggers, which are certain things that cause asthma attacks or make asthma worse. Includes tips on how to help children reduce exposure to triggers.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

American Lung Association. Lung Health and Diseases. For Parents of Children with Asthma.
Summary Note: Discusses how children with asthma are diagnosed and treated. Suggests resources, such as school programs and an interactive website, where children with asthma can learn self-management skills.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. Asthma.
Summary Note: Data for the U.S. on Morbidity, Physician Office Visits, Emergency Department Visits, and Mortality. Includes link to Summary Health Statistics Tables for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2015.
(Accessed 26 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Summary Note: NHLBI is the primary NIH organization for research on Asthma in Children.
(Accessed 23 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Asthma – Children. Medical Encyclopedia.
Summary Note: Medical Encyclopedia is published by A.D.A.M., Inc. Defines Asthma. Compares diagrams of normal and asthmatic airways. Includes diagram of Peak Flow Meter. Discusses Triggers, Symptoms, Tests, Treatment, and Medicine. Includes Patient Instructions.
(Accessed 25 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Asthma in Children.
Summary Note: NIH Topic Page for Childhood Asthma. Includes list of websites from the National Institutes of Health and other reliable research and education sources. Resources are arranged by category, such as, Start Here, Diagnosis and Tests, Prevention and risk Factors, Videos and Tutorials. Includes free Patient Handouts.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Don’t Let Asthma Define You. Fall 2017 issue.
Summary Note: Features a young woman, diagnosed with asthma at birth, whose asthma impacted life milestones, such as giving birth, but whose self-confidence and prescribed medications help her to live a life defined by positive thought and action.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

National Institutes of Health. U.S. National Library of Medicine. NIH MedlinePlus Magazine. Outrunning Asthma: Football Player Rashad Jennings Battled Childhood Asthma with Exercise and Determination Fall 2017 issue.
Summary Note: Features a football player, diagnosed with childhood asthma, who uses exercise and self-determination to compete on and off the football field.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)

Nemours Foundation. KidsHealth dot org. Asthma Basics.
Summary Note: Presents frequently asked questions, with answers that have been reviewed by a medical doctor. Includes a list of tips on how an Asthma Action Plan can be developed with the Pediatrician or other medical doctor.
(Accessed 10 February 2018)