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Your infant can’t tug on your sleeve and verbalize that she’s not able to breathe. When she is sick, all you can do is go by what you see. You act as an advocate for your child, communicating developments, progress, illnesses and symptoms to her doctor. When the doctor knows what is going on with your baby, he can prescribe the most appropriate medical treatments.
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Quick Reliever "Rescue" Medications
Medications used for children with asthma under age one include “quick reliever” medications, such as albuterol or Xopenex, to reverse or stop an attack. These quick relievers are, just as their name implies, fast-acting medications that reverse the spasm inside the airways, relaxing the muscular bands that encircle the airways.
The albuterol (or other fast-acting medication) is administered to your child by way of a nebulizer, which is a small machine that converts the liquid medication into a fine mist. Your baby inhales the mist through a face mask. One nebulizer treatment takes approximately 10 minutes, giving your baby quick relief. She may exhibit side effects, such as shakiness and nervousness.
If your baby is able to coordinate breathing medication in from an inhaler, your doctor may prescribe this as a treatment option for your baby. However, it is unlikely that she will be able to coordinate a quick, sharp breath in at the same time that you squeeze the actuator down to deliver the medication to her. For this reason, some pediatricians and allergists recommend the use of a spacer, which is simply a long tube (the holding chamber) with a small mask attached. This allows your baby to breathe naturally, getting the medication into her lungs, giving her needed relief. In contrast to the nebulizer, this treatment lasts for less than one minute.
The choice of a nebulizer versus a metered-dose inhaler and a spacer is a decision made between you and the doctor. Whatever works best for the baby is what should be used.
Your doctor will decide what is best for your baby, based on the severity of her asthma symptoms. The level of severity determines what type of medication, as well as the delivery method, your doctor prescribes. Based on what your doctor observes and what you tell him, he will also decide if treatment should be given continuously -- every day -- or only when your child is symptomatic.
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Medications used for children with asthma under age one may also include controller medications, or medications meant to prevent future asthma attacks. These are the inhaled steroidal medications, which include Asmanex, Azmacort, Aerobid, Flovent, Dulera, Pulmicort, Qvar and Symbicort.
In lower doses, these medications have few side effects. Regardless of the delivery method, you should have your child take the medication using a spacer, if it is delivered via metered dose inhaler. Your baby may develop thrush, which is an oral yeast infection or hoarseness after taking one of these medications.
If you are concerned about potential side effects, please discuss these with your baby’s doctor. They are prescribed to control her asthma more effectively.
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References and Image Credit
 Baby Allergies & Asthma. Baby Center. August 2007, retrieved at http://www.babycenter.com/0_asthma_74.bc?page=1
 Wheezing and Asthma in Infants. Kids Health. October 2010, retrieved at http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/asthma/wheezing_asthma.html#
 Asthma, Steroids, and Other Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. WebMD, retrieved at http://www.webmd.com/asthma/guide/asthma-control-with-anti-inflammatory-drugs
Infant holding finger Free Digital Photo Nutdanal Apikhomboonwaroot