1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

New Pediatric Asthma Guidelines

Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma

By

Updated November 23, 2003

Taking steps to control your child's asthma should be a little easier now that the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma have been updated. Published by the National Asthma Education and Prevention Program, these asthma guidelines were last updated in 1997. The current update presents up-to-date recommendations on medications, monitoring and prevention of asthma. These recommendations reinforce the benefits and safety of inhaled corticosteroids as compared to other preventative medications.

The basics of these guidelines is that your doctors should use a stepwise approach to managing asthma depending on how severe a child's symptoms are classified. For improving symptoms, a step down, or decrease in regular medications should be made. And there should be a step up for worsening or poorly controlled symptoms until the following goals are met:

  • Minimal or no chronic symptoms during the day or night.
  • Minimal or no exacerbations.
  • No limitations on activities; no school/work/parent's work missed.
  • Peak flows (for older children that are able to do peak flows) greater than 80% of personal best.
  • Minimal use of inhaled short acting beta2-agonists (less than once per day, less than one canister a month).
  • Minimal or no adverse effects from medications.
If your child isn't meeting these goals, you should see your Pediatrician for a reevaluation and to reclassify your child's asthma symptoms and to make adjustments in his treatment regimen.

How do you classify your child's asthma? According to the guidelines, your child's asthma can be classified as:

  • Mild Intermittent: Symptoms less than or equal to 2 days a week or 2 nights a month. Peak flows greater than or equal to 80% of your child's personal best, with less than 20% variability in daily peak flow measurements.
  • Mild Persistent: Symptoms more than 2 days a week, but less than once every day or more than 2 nights a month. Peak flows greater than or equal to 80% of your child's personal best, with less than 20-30% variability in daily peak flow measurements.
  • Moderate Persistent: Daily symptoms or symptoms more than 1 night a week. Peak flows that are 60 to 80% of your child's personal best, or more than 30% variability in daily peak flow measurements.
  • Severe Persistent: Continual daytime symptoms and frequent symptoms at night. Peak flows that are less than or equal to 60% of your child's personal best, or more than 30% variability in daily peak flow measurements.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.