WHAT IS ASTHMA?
Asthma is a chronic disease involving the airways in the lungs. These airways, or bronchial tubes, allow air to come in and out of the lungs. This inflammation makes the airways vulnerable to episodes of difficult breathing (asthma attacks).Determining whether a child has asthma can be difficult.
Not all children have the same asthma symptoms, and these symptoms can vary from episode to episode in the same child. Possible signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:
- Frequent coughing spells, which may occur during play, at night, or while laughing or crying
- A chronic cough (which may be the only symptom)
- Less energy during play
- Rapid breathing (intermittently)
- Complaint of chest tightness or chest “hurting”
- Whistling sound when breathing in or out — called wheezing.
- See-saw motions in the chest from labored breathing. These motions are called retractions.
- Shortness of breath, loss of breath
- Tightened neck and chest muscles
- Feelings of weakness or tiredness
Your child’s doctor will evaluate the illness according to the signs or symptoms they have and diagnose them accordingly.
Causes of Asthma
Asthma is the leading cause of chronic disease in children. Asthma can begin at any age (even in the very elderly), but most children have their first symptoms by age 5. There are various causes of asthma in children which are:
- Allergens – mold, pollen, animals
- Irritants – cigarette smoke, air pollution
- Weather – cold air, changes in weather
- Infections – flu, common cold
RELATED: Also know about allergies.
Risk factors of developing Asthma in childhood
There are many risk factors for developing childhood asthma. These include:
- Nasal allergies (hay fever) or eczema (allergic skin rash)
- A family history of asthma or allergies
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Low birth weight
- Exposure to tobacco smoke before or after birth
- Black or Puerto-Rican ethnicity
- Being raised in a low-income environment
Asthma Management and Treatment
Preventing oneself from Asthma is the best strategy. Asthma in children can often be diagnosed based on medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam. Keep in mind that oftentimes when you take your infant or older child to the doctor with asthma symptoms, the symptoms may be gone by the time the doctor evaluates the child. There are various laboratory tests recommended by doctor to diagnose asthma which are:
- Blood test
- Chest X-Ray
- Allergy test
With the test reports, the doctor concludes to the treatment that must be provided to the child.The treatment will depend on the severity and frequency of the symptoms. To deal with childhood asthma, the doctor may prescribe two types of medicines:
- Quick relief
- Long-term control
Avoiding triggers, using medications, and keeping an eye on daily asthma symptoms are the ways to control asthma in children of all ages. Children with asthma should always be kept away from all sources of smoke. Proper use of medication is the basis of good asthma control.
Depending on your young child’s age, you may use inhaled asthma drugs or liquid medications delivered with an asthma nebulizer. A nebulizer delivers asthma medications by changing them from a liquid to a mist. As a mist, your child will breathe the medications through a face mask. These breathing treatments usually take about 10-15 minutes and may be given up to four times a day.
The treatment goals for young children with asthma are to:
- Treat inflammation in the airways, usually with daily medication, to prevent asthma attacks
- Use short-acting drugs to treat asthma attacks
- Avoid or minimize the effect of asthma triggers
- Maintain normal activity levels
Many people with asthma manage the condition well and can live a healthy and productive life by avoiding triggers and following their allergists’ instructions. If left unmanaged or misdiagnosed, asthma can be fatal, so it is necessary to consult the best doctors who can recommend you with right treatment. Get an appointment with Dr. Ravi Malik, a renowned Paediatrician at Radix Healthcare.