A chronic inflammatory disease affecting the airways is asthma. An estimated 9 million children are affected by it in the United States. Coughing,wheezing and troubled breathing are some of the symptoms which they experience.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease in which the inside walls of the airways become sore and swollen.It can begin at any age,and even most children have their first symptoms of asthma by age 5. Asthma symptoms in children can be more serious as they have smaller airways than adults. Moreover, there are certain risk factors that account to asthma in children. These include:
- A family history of asthma
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Nasal allergies (hay fever) or allergic skin rash
- Low birth weight
- Exposure to tobacco smoke before or after birth
- Black ethnicity
- Being raised in a low-income environment1
Asthma diagnosis in children:
Asthma in children can be diagnosed by a medical care specialist. He/she may diagnose the condition of your child based on the medical history, symptoms, and a physical exam. Below are some of the diagnosing options which the doctor may perform. These are as follows:
- Medical history-In diagnosing your child’s asthma condition you will play a crucial role as you may help the doctor in understanding the asthma symptoms in a child.Doctor may ask you any history of breathing problems you or your child may have or had. He/she may also ask you about the family history of asthma, allergies, or lung disease. It’s important for you to describe the asthma symptoms in your childin detail.
- Physical exam-To perform a physical exam, the doctor will do a checkup of your kid’s heart and lungs. He/she may also look for signs of an allergic nose or eyes.
- Tests-The doctor may perform a simple lung function test by doing chest X-ray if your child is six years of age or older. The results of the test will help the doctor in determining how severe the asthma is.
There are numerous ways to treat asthma including by avoiding triggers, using asthma medications, and keeping an eye on symptoms. The doctor will advise you to keep your child away from all sources of smoke. Moreover, based on your child’s medical history and severity of asthma condition, the doctor will provide you an asthma action plan in written. Asthma action plan describes the accurate information about when and how your child should use asthma drugs and what to do when the condition gets worse.
An asthmaaction plan is crucial in controlling your little one’s asthma. Always keep it handy as it will remind you of your child’s daily asthma management plan when he/she develops asthma symptoms. Furthermore, make sure to handover a copy of the action plan to his/her school teacher. Doing this may help your child’s teacher in treating the asthma symptoms at the time of an asthma attack.
Medicines don’t cure asthma, but these help patients in managing their condition. Medicines for asthma treatment include long-term control of inflammation drugs. These include inhaled cortico steroids like Fluticasone, Budesonide, and Beclomethasone, Cromolynand Theophylline. Moreover, there are short-term asthma inhalers too that provide immediate relief of asthma symptoms. These include Albuterol,Pirbuterol and Levalbuterol that work quickly, but can’t keep your child’s symptoms from coming back. Furthermore, if your child’s asthma doesn’t get under control and he/she often needs to use a quick-relief inhaler. This will be a sign that your child needs to see a doctor about making treatment changes.
To provide asthma medications there are various drug delivery devices that allow a kid to breathe the medication directly into the lungs. These include:
- Metered dose inhaler-These small and standard hand-held devices are used to deliver asthma medications. Along with the inhaler, your child may also need a spacer with a mouthpiece.If your child is younger than four years, then he/she may need a face mask that attaches to the spacer and delivers the medication while breathing.
- Nebulizer-This device turns medication into a fine mist and can easily give larger doses of medication into the lungs as compared to an inhaler.
Asthma is a condition that can’t be cured, but it can be well managed if its symptoms get under control through proper medication along with asthma action plan. So carefully control your child’s asthma symptoms and make necessary medication changes as needed, if you act quickly, your child is less likely to have a severe attack.