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Monday, June 6, 2011

Here's how to be a better asthma dad

Being a dad to an asthmatic child can pose a challenge for both you and your child. In a recent post at I provide tips to how you can be a better asthma dad.

10 Tips on Being a Better Asthma Dad

by Rick Frea , Monday, June 14, 2010, @

With all the obstacles in today's world, being a dad is a tough job. Yet, when you're the dad of an asthmatic child, that job can be even tougher.

With that in mind, as a former child asthmatic and current asthma dad myself, and with the help of my fellow asthma bloggers, I have come up with 10 tips to set you on a course to winning the trophy that says: "Best Asthma Dad in the World!"

Of course, this humble trophy would look great up on the fireplace mantle right next to that other coveted award I'm sure you'll win again this year: "Best Dad in the World!"

So here are 10 tips to improving your asthma dad skills:

1. Educate: Study and learn as much as you can about your child's asthma. Most important, know the early warning signs of asthma, and know what your child's asthma triggers are.

2. Vigilance: Pay attention to your asthmatic child for the early signs of an asthma attack, and know your child's asthma action plan so you know what to do when you see the signs of asthma. Also, know its normal for asthmatics to second guess themselves, and not want to bother their parents. Keep this in mind, and don't be afraid to say, "Are you having trouble breathing?" If you see the signs of asthma, be proactive and don't take "No!" for an answer.

3. Medicine: My dad was 100 percent healthy, and could just leave the house on a whim without having to pack a thing. As an asthmatic, your child should never leave home without his bronchodilator (Albuterol), and should have his or her asthma controller meds available too.

4. Reminders: Speaking of medicine, all kids (including the teenage variety) are busy and often forget their responsibilities. It's always a good idea to make sure your child is taking his controller medicine every day, and always has a bronchodilator in his or her possession at all times.

5. No Smoking: You know I had to say it, but second-hand smoke is one of the worst asthma triggers. Ideally, if you choose to smoke, your child should never know you smoke. There, that's all I'm going to say about this. If you want to know more, check out this link.

6. Empathy: Understand that your asthmatic son or daughter may not be able to participate in some of your projects you love. For simplicity purposes, here is a list of some projects an asthmatic may not be able to do:

  • Haul and stack wood
  • Rip up old carpet
  • Drywall
  • Hunt (lots of asthma triggers involved here)
  • Camp (due to campfire smoke, dust, molds, etc.)
  • Carpentry work
  • Anything that involves old homes, dusty or wet basements,

If you're like my dad when I was a kid (and me now) you'll want to teach your kids your skills, or have family outings doings things you enjoy. You can still do these things, just have empathy that your asthmatic child may not be able to participate.

7. Family outings: Be willing to go out of your way to create projects, or family outings, that are asthma friendly. Here is a list of such outings:

  • Water/ amusement parks
  • Swimming (Beach or pools)
  • Nature walks or outings (such as state parks, etc.)
  • Bike rides
  • Sports (baseball and golf are both asthma friendly)
  • Crafts (drawing, writing, photography, etc.)
  • Fishing

8. Nocturnal: Know that asthma is a disease of the night. Pay attention to nighttime coughing and sneezing, and know these are common signs of asthma. Likewise, if your child comes to you at 2 a.m. in the morning, don't scold your child and then roll over and go back to sleep.

9. Prescriptions: Don't let your child's asthma prescriptions run out. Again, even teenagers (especially teenagers) need assistance in this area. Don't let any of your child's asthma meds run out.

10. Stewardship: Your the dad, and that basically makes you a god of sorts to your child. Your children look up to you in more ways than you'll ever know. So be positive, sensitive and optimistic. Smile, be happy, and don't hesitate to go the extra mile to help your asthmatic child fit in.

Actually, advice for parents of asthmatics was a recent topic in the asthma blogosphere. So for even better tips on how to be a good asthma parent, check this post at Hold Your Breath to Breathe.

By following these simple steps you should be well on your way to earning not just the, "World's Best Asthma Dad," award, but the highly coveted one: "World's Best Dad!"

Good luck.

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