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Answers to seven questions can help identify children ages 4 to 11 who have poorly controlled asthma. A practitioner using the Childhood Asthma Control Test (Childhood ACT) asks the child four questions:
* How is your asthma today?
* How much of a problem is your asthma when you run, exercise, or play sports?
* Do you cough because of your asthma?
* Do you wake up during the night because of your asthma?
A young child can answer by pointing to a faces scale ranging from sad to smiley.
In addition, her parent or other caregiver is asked three questions about her condition during the previous 4 weeks: How many days did the child have any daytime asthma symptoms? How many days did she wheeze during the day because of asthma? How many days did she wake during the night because of asthma?The responses from parent and child are scored and totaled. The highest possible score is 27. A score of 19 or less may indicate poorly controlled asthma.
The Childhood ACT complements a similar test for children ages 12 and older supported by the American Lung Association. Pediatric specialists in asthma and immunology who developed the test unveiled it at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in October. You can obtain the tests from the American Lung Association Web site: http://www.lungusa.org.
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