Asthma is a serious chronic respiratory disorder affecting both children and adults. It is known to be more common in children, and affects millions of children in the United States alone. A number of factors contribute to children being more prone to developing this disorder, most commonly at the age of 5 and some even at a younger age. Asthma in children can be quite a discomfort, and it is essential that parents know how to prevent the same in children. Following are the causes, symptoms, and treatment options of this disorder.
The causes are common for both children, as well as adults. These attacks are a result of change in weather conditions, respiratory infections, emotional disturbance, family history, and exposure to allergens like smoke, pollution, dust, and pollen. Children are more prone to developing the chronic form of this condition due to their underdeveloped respiratory system and small airways.
The most common symptoms include severe wheezing when breathing in or breathing out, troubled or rapid breathing, chest tightness, and coughing. These symptoms tend to worsen during the night and breathing may get increasingly difficult. This condition often goes undiagnosed in childhood, as the symptoms are considered to be associated with other respiratory disorders. Medical assistance may be required if the breathing condition of the child does not improve, and signs like the lips and nails turning blue, are noticed. In children below the age of 5, the most common symptom is an upper respiratory infection like common cold. Childhood asthma cannot be cured and the symptoms may continue into adulthood; however, the symptoms can be kept under control with proper treatment.
Treatment can be administered in a number of ways. The most common treatment option is the use of inhalers that help broaden the airways, thereby enabling easy breathing. In case of a severe attack, the child should be put on a nebulizer until he or she finds it easy to breathe. Corticosteroids may also be helpful in relieving symptoms during an attack. Drugs like theophylline, aminophylline, Beta 2 agonists, and anticholinergics are safe, and can be administered to affected children.
Tips for Prevention
If you are aware of the fact that your child is asthmatic, the following preventive measures will help to minimize the chances of an attack.
- Determine what triggers an attack in your child and take adequate steps to prevent the child from being exposed to these triggers.
- Take immediate action and administer medication as soon as you notice any of the symptoms.
- Treat respiratory infection and minor colds and cough immediately so that an attack can be prevented.
- Educate the child about the allergens and irritants that can trigger an attack in him or her.
- Keep your home, especially the child’s bedroom and play area clean and dust-free by vacuuming it on a daily basis.
- Monitor the child’s lung function by using a peak flow meter. You can also determine if the child is at a risk of an attack with the help of the readings of this device.
An asthma attack can also prove fatal, if it is not treated on time or can have long-term consequences on the health of the child. Try to prevent these attacks as much as possible with the help of medication and regular monitoring.