Asthma

 

Does your child miss school and stay back home when others play because he suffers from sudden asthma attacks? Well, you are not the only worried parent because every year the number of asthmatic children are increasing by leaps and bounds.

 

What is Asthma?

 

A child suffering from breathing difficulties and wheezing when confronted by certain environmental triggers such as smoke, allergens or even exercise is said to be asthmatic. Asthma attacks are mostly short-lived lasting from several minutes to several hours. Though asthma is not really considered to be curable, several children seem to outgrow their condition and remain without symptoms through the rest of their lives.

 

Who gets Asthma?

 

Asthma does not strike any particular sex or age group. Children with a family history of asthmatics are in the high-risk categories. However, inheriting asthma does not have any particular pattern. Asthmatic parents are capable of giving birth to perfectly healthy children. Premature children born in the 36th week of their gestational age have a high risk of developing asthma. Similarly smoking by others in the vicinity of a child might increase the chances of the child developing asthma.

 

What Causes Asthma?

 

Asthma is probably genetically linked to most individuals. Environmental influences and hormones though, can control the risk of a genetically susceptible person to develop asthma. Most asthmatics are allergic to allergens like pet hair and pollen, but this is not a rule. Researchers have attributed the increased incidences of asthma worldwide to imbalanced immune system due to high antibiotic usage and environmental triggers. Common triggers identified are:

 

  • Vehicular pollution and tobacco smoke.
  • Dust mites, pollen, mold, and animal droppings.
  • Respiratory tract infections 
  • Exercise.
  • Inhaling cold air and sinusitis.
  • Emotional distress.
  • Medications such as analgesics.

 

Symptoms of Asthma

After the initial exposure to triggers, symptoms generally appear slowly over several days and hours. Sometimes symptoms appear rapidly. The severity of the attack can range from mild to life threatening, and is worse at nighttime. Symptoms of an attack are:

●     Rapid breathing.

●     Panting for breath.   

●     Coughing, irritation of the nose.

●     Thirst

●     Chest pain, or tightness

●     Child with a concave shaped chest or drawn inwards.

●     Need to urinate more frequently. 

 

Can Your Child Be Cured of Asthma?   

Asthma is "reversible" – the symptoms caused by the constricted airways can go away completely with proper medication or the removal of the offending cause. Studies report that most asthmatic children outgrow asthma as they reach puberty. In very few cases, it comes back in adult life and in very fewer cases does it grow to become a major problem once they reach adulthood.

 

 

 

Diagnosis and Cure

Before taking any action yourself, it is always advisable to get an expert opinion. Take your child to a doctor and give a detailed medical history of your child. This will help you to zero in on the triggers and the doctor can suggest ways to minimize them.

Treatment

Homeopathy, acupuncture, message, yoga, and meditation are some of the alternative treatments for asthma. Conventional treatments include taking medicines and changing of lifestyles.

Self-care

It is important for you as parents to try and keep a check on your child’s asthma attacks. Here are some tips:

  • Ensure that your child takes the necessary medications at regular intervals.
  • Maintain a chart of the time and days of the asthma attacks.
  • Prevent any allergens suspected to induce asthma attacks in your child.
  • Do not smoke when your child is around as the smoke could trigger off an attack.
  • Minimize keeping dust magnets, rug, carpet, and drapes in your home and keep it well ventilated.
  • Avoid clustering too many toys and books in your child’s bedroom.

Most Commonly Used Medications   

Asthma medications can be prescribed as pills or syrups, or to be taken by some form of inhaler. They can be used both for relief and prevention. Inhaled medications are popular primarily for fast relief. Also. This way large amounts of medication can be delivered directly to the lungs, and very little of it reaching other parts of the body, where it can potentially cause side effects. The disadvantage of inhaled medications is that the inhaler must be used properly, and must be in good working order, for the medication to reach the lungs.