Bronchodilator, Short-Acting, for Children: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Bronchodilators are medicines that make it easier to breathe. They relax the airways of the lungs.

Short-acting bronchodilators work fast. They treat sudden breathing problems, like asthma attacks or wheezing. They aren't the same as long-acting bronchodilators. These are used every day to control asthma.

These short-acting medicines are often inhaled. They also come in the form of pills or liquids.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

How can you care for your child at home?

  • Have your child take medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor if you think your child is having a problem with a medicine.
  • If your child uses an inhaler and spacer, talk with your doctor to be sure that you know how to use them the right way. Be sure your child uses them exactly as your doctor has prescribed.
  • Try not to give your child an inhaled medicine when your child is crying because not as much medicine gets into the lungs.
  • Pay attention to how often your child needs to use this medicine. Does your child need to use it more than 2 days a week within a month (except before exercise)? If so, your doctor may need to change the amount and number of controller medicines your child takes.
  • Let your doctor know if your child has side effects from the medicine. These may include:
    • A fast heartbeat.
    • Headache and dizziness.
    • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
    • Anxiety.
    • Hives and skin rash.
    • Nervousness or tremor (such as unsteady, shaky hands).

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child has severe trouble breathing. Signs may include the chest sinking in, using belly muscles to breathe, or nostrils flaring while your child is struggling to breathe.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child has an asthma or wheezing attack and the medicine doesn't help.
  • Your child coughs up yellow, dark brown, or bloody mucus (sputum).

Watch closely for changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • Your child's wheezing and coughing get worse.
  • Your child needs quick-relief medicine on more than 2 days a week within a month (unless it is just for exercise).
  • Your child has any new symptoms, such as a fever.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.