Childhood asthma, also known as pediatric asthma, is the same as the adult lung disease but can be a little harder to define. Although it can be tough to predict if your child will develop asthma, there are certain leading predictors, including:
- A family history of asthma or allergies
- Diagnosed allergies including allergic rhinitis and food and skin allergies
- Living in an air polluted environment
- Exposure to tobacco smoke
Asthma has no cure but can be controlled to prevent permanent lung damage. For many kids, this disease can be managed with the right asthma treatment and appropriate lifestyle changes. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about childhood asthma, including triggers, symptoms, and treatment.
Childhood asthma symptoms are often confused with those of other respiratory illnesses such as a normal cold. However, asthma is a chronic illness that, when not treated accordingly, can adversely affect the quality of your child’s life. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Wheezing: This can be in the form of whistling noises when breathing
- Coughing: Gets worse when your child is asleep or when they are sick
- Shortness of breath: They may find it hard to engage even in normal activities
For toddlers, it can be harder to spot asthma. Therefore, it is advisable to be extra keen on any new symptoms. If your toddler has asthma, they may experience:
- Unusual fatigue
- Difficulty breathing
- Trouble sleeping
- Delayed recovery from respiratory illnesses
Understand that symptoms vary from one child to another. While some may experience all the symptoms, some may show just a few of them. A worsening asthma condition can quickly result in an asthma attack. In such an instance, your child may show the following symptoms:
- Bluish shade to the lips
- Severe shortness of breath
- Low blood pressure
Note that severe asthma attacks can be life-threatening and require the immediate attention of a healthcare provider.
The best way to protect your child from asthma attacks is by avoiding the following triggers:
- Smoke: One of the most substantial risk factors for childhood asthma is exposure to tobacco during infancy.
- Inactivity: If you have observed proper control of the asthma, encourage your child to be active to help the lungs work efficiently.
- Lack of timely check-up: Any signs of asthma should be checked and controlled by a doctor. Avoid depending too much on quick-relief inhalers. Given that asthma changes with time, consult your doctor to get the needed treatment.
- Obesity: Ensure that your child gains a healthy weight. Obesity also puts them at risk of other health issues.
- Heartburn: Acid reflux can worsen asthma symptoms. Avoid feeding them with acidic foods and beverages.
It is crucial that your child receives adequate asthma treatment. Your doctor can help you structure an action plan for long-term control. The right treatment will ensure that your child gets adequate sleep and does not need to skip their school program. The plan should help you identify when your child needs a change in medication, when emergency help is needed, and when the asthma is under control. The treatment plan will vary according to the severity of the disease and its frequency. The following may be recommended:
- Quick-relief: shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing will need to be controlled with a quick-relief medicine, known as an inhaler. Your child should always have it in their pocket to use at the first sign of an attack.
- Long-term control: Some children are prescribed for long-term medication to treat advanced asthma. It is taken daily to prevent a life-threatening attack.
Your pediatrician may recommend the use of a spacer when taking both medications to ensure that the dosage reaches the lungs. A nebulizer could also be recommended to ensure that the medication is fully and instantly delivered.
Learning about asthma and understanding how it can be controlled is a positive step towards managing your child’s condition. Talk to your doctor to understand how better it can be managed, how to avoid the triggers, and how the treatment should be administered.
*This is a collaborative post. For further information please refer to my disclosure page.
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