Bronchodilators, in either oral or inhaled form, may be prescribed for the relief of occasional symptoms of asthma. These medications work to open up the airways, easing breathing. Inhaled bronchodilators that may be prescribed include Alupent, Maxair, and Ventolin. Oral medications in this category (which include Alupent and theophylline based drugs) are rarely used today because they can cause side effects such as restlessness, insomnia, headache, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, dizziness, nausea, and vomiting. Long-term use of theophylline may also be associated with behavioral problems and learning disabilities, although the evidence for this is not conclusive.
A child who has asthma should eat a healthy, whole-foods diet based on lean proteins, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Avoid excessive saturated and animal fats.
Avoid giving your child dairy foods, which tend to increase the production of mucus.
Beware of foods such as nuts, citrus fruits, whole-wheat products (especially yeasted breads), seafood, and foods containing additives like preservatives or food dyes, as well as contact with animals. Any of these items can cause or exacerbate an allergy-induced asthma attack in susceptible children.
Following an asthma attack, encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids once her condition is stable enough for her to do so. It is important to thin secretions so that they are easily coughed out.
Nutritional supplements for asthma are directed at preventing or supporting recovery from an asthma attack, rather than treating an acute episode. In the event of an acute asthma attack, seek immediate medical care for your child. For age-appropriate dosages of nutritional supplements, see page 81.
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) help to regulate the inflammatory response. Good sources are evening primrose oil or EPA (fish oil). Give your child either of these supplements, one to three times a day, for two to three months, following the dosage directions on the product label. A combination of the two may be more effective in some children.
Note: Evening primrose oil should not be given to a child who has a fever.
Magnesium has a bronchodilating effect if taken in the proper dosage. Some doctors give magnesium sulfate by injection to treat acute asthma attacks. Try giving your child one dose of magnesium, twice a day. If she develops loose stool, reduce the dosage.
About The Author
JANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac.
is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more