As parents, we want to be sure that the healthcare professionals get all the information that we feel is important. But in this study - which looked at children who have asthma - researchers picked up on information that only the child can present and the difference that it could make in their care.
Researchers enrolled 79 children who were between five and 17 years old into their study. Fifty-three of the children had acute asthma and 26 had refractory asthma. The researchers asked the children to fill out the Pediatric Asthma Quality of Life Questionnaire and their caregivers completed the Pediatric Asthma Caregiver’s Quality of Life Questionnaire.
When comparing the questionnaire responses, the researchers found that while the scores between the two – the children and the caregivers – were similar, the children reported a better activity-related quality of life than did their caregivers. There was also a greater difference between how boys responded compared with their caregivers.
Taking this information, the researchers concluded that while the caregivers are important and can provide useful information to the healthcare professionals, it’s important to ask the children directly too, to see how they view their illness and its impact on their quality of life.
The American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology has put together a list that it feels are the five most important topics that children with asthma should discuss with their allergist:
1. Asthma prevents me from playing sports and taking part in other activities -- If your child cannot play sports or participate in gym class and recess activities, it's important they tell their allergist. This can be an indication their asthma isn't properly controlled. If they can participate in activities, it is also important they tell their allergist, to show their condition is being well managed.
2. When I am outside or at home my asthma symptoms become worse -- An estimated 60 to 80 percent of children with asthma also have an allergy. If nearly inescapable allergens, such as pollen, mold, dust and pet dander are triggering your child's asthma symptoms, an allergist may include immunotherapy (allergy shots) as part of a treatment plan.
3. I often feel sad or different from other kids because I have asthma -- Nearly half of children with asthma report feeling depressed or left out of activities due to their condition. Anyone with asthma should be able to feel good and be active. No one should accept less.
4. There have been times I have missed school because of my condition -- Asthma is the most common chronic illness in childhood and is a leading caused in missed school days. Research shows children under the care of a board-certified allergist see a 77 percent reduction in lost time from school.
5. My asthma disappeared -- It is important your child carry and use their inhaler as prescribed, even if symptoms aren't bothersome. While asthma symptoms are controllable with the proper treatment, there isn't a cure for asthma and it likely won't disappear. An asthma attack can strike at any time.