Asthma, a chronic disease that affects the airways of the lungs, is characterized by airway inflammation, mucus production and narrowing of the airway.
Andres Carrion, MD, pediatric pulmonologist with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Health, explains what makes a patient with asthma high-risk and what families should do to manage such a diagnosis, including the rule of two to help them know when they need to seek help.
What is High-Risk Asthma?
Patients are considered high risk for asthma if their symptoms are not controlled by their medication or if they have to use their rescue medications often. Patients with high-risk asthma often have a lot of emergency room visits or hospitalizations.
Patients whose asthma is not well controlled may experience poor quality of life. They may miss more school days, are in the hospital more often and might not be able to participate in sports and other regular daily activities because of impairing symptoms.
What Are the Rules of Two
The rule of two is a way to assess symptoms to help patients know when they need to seek help. It means your child:
- Uses rescue medication more than TWICE a week
- Wakes up at night with cough or asthma symptoms more than TWICE a month
- Uses more than TWO canisters of medicine in a year
When is Asthma Controlled?
A child living with asthma who experiences minimal or no symptoms, can perform their usual activities and exercise without difficulty, and rarely uses any rescue medication would be considered well controlled.
Families can work with their pediatric primary care provider or a specialist like Dr. Carrion to develop an asthma action plan to maintain that control.