What Is the First Step in an Emergency?

If you recognize the signs of a severe flare early there should be enough time to give a quick-relief treatment, call your physician, and get to an emergency department. Most asthma flares have a progression of symptoms over the course of hours, and traveling by ambulance should be unnecessary. Rarely, a child may develop sudden severe symptoms.

PRIMARY CARE

Every child should have a primary care provider for well-child checkups and immunizations. With a chronic disease like asthma, it is particularly important to see consistently the same physician, nurse practitioner, or other professional over time so the primary care provider can get to know your child well. This primary care provider will play the lead role in assessing your child’s asthma, prescribing medicines, and making referrals for other services or specialty care if needed.

Private Health Insurance

Asthma care and medicines are expensive, and obtaining the right health insurance is an important first step in accessing the health care system. Recent changes in the law provide the opportunity for virtually every child in every state to qualify for some form of health insurance. The rules and steps involved are complex, however, and may leave many gaps in the care that is provided.

SPECIALTY CARE

Specialty care for asthma can be confusing because each type of provider may have a different focus. Pediatric allergists specialize in the reactions of the immune system to common environmental allergens, such as pollens, dust mites, or pet dander, that can play a key role in asthma. Allergists use skin tests to detect allergies and may, in some cases, treat allergies by giving repeated small doses of the allergen.