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Childhood Asthma

Childhood Asthma

What you need to know
about Childhood Asthma

Childhood asthma is the same lung illness that adults suffer, although children’s symptoms are often different. This is also known as paediatric asthma by doctors.

When your child has asthma, their lungs and airways can easily get inflamed from a cold or exposure to pollen. Your child’s symptoms may make it difficult for him or her to complete normal activities or sleep. An asthma episode may necessitate a trip to the hospital.

Although there is no cure for asthma in children, you can cooperate with their doctor to treat it and protect their developing lungs.

What are the symptoms of Childhood Asthma?

Asthma symptoms differ from child to child. From one episode to the next, a child’s symptoms may change. Asthma symptoms and signs in children include:

  • Cough that refuses to go away (which may be the only symptom)
  • Coughing fits that occur frequently, particularly during play or exercise, at night, in cold weather, or when laughing or crying
  • A cough that worsens as a result of a viral illness
  • Playing with less intensity and pausing to collect their breath throughout activities
  • Refusing to participate in sports or social activities
  • Coughing or breathing problems are preventing you from sleeping
  • Breathing quickly
  • Tightness or pain in the chest
  • Wheezing is a whistling sound that occurs as you breathe in or out
  • In their chests, they were making seesaw motions (retractions)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Muscles in the neck and chest are tense.
  • Fatigue
  • Grunting during eating or having difficulty eating (in infants)

Any condition that makes it difficult for your child to breathe should be checked out by their GP.

When dealing with wheezing or shortness of breath or coughing in infants and toddlers, experts sometimes use the words “reactive airways disease” and “bronchiolitis.” In children under the age of 5, tests may not be able to confirm asthma.

Childhood Asthma Causes and Triggers

The following are examples of common triggers:

  • Infections of the lungs. Colds, pneumonia, and sinus infections are examples of this.
  • Allergens. Cockroaches, dust mites, mould, pet dander, and pollen are all possible allergens for your child.
  • Irritants. Pollution, chemicals, chilly air, scents, and smoke can all irritate their lungs.
  • Exercise. It can cause wheezing, coughing, and tightness in the chest.
  • Stress. It can make your child’s symptoms worse by making them short of breath.

Boys are more likely than girls to stammer. It’s unclear why this is the case.

Genes are thought to play a role as well. Around two-thirds of persons who stammer have a family history of stammering, implying that a child’s genes may make them more prone to acquire a stammer.

Diagnosis of Childhood Asthma

By the time you arrive at the doctor’s surgery, your child’s asthma symptoms may have subsided. You play a critical role in assisting your doctor in comprehending what’s going on. The following items will be included in a diagnosis:

  • Questions concerning your medical history as well as your child’s symptoms. Your doctor will inquire about your child’s breathing issues, as well as any family history of asthma, allergies, eczema, or any other lung disease. Describe in detail your child’s symptoms, including when and how often they occur.
  • Examination of the body. Your doctor will examine your child’s heart and lungs and look for signs of allergies in their nose or eyes.
  • Tests. A chest X-ray may be required for your child. They may get a simple lung test called spirometry if they’re 6 or older. It determines how much air is in your child’s lungs and how quickly they can expel it. This assists the doctor in determining the severity of their asthma. Further tests can aid in the discovery of asthma triggers. Allergy skin testing, blood tests (IgE or RAST), and X-rays may be used to determine whether sinus infections or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) are causing asthma to worsen. Inflamed airways can also be detected with a test that detects the amount of nitric oxide (eNO) in your child’s breath.

When should you seek emergency medical attention?

A severe asthma attack necessitates immediate medical attention. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Having to take a breather in the middle of a sentence
  • Breathing through the stomach muscles
  • A belly that sinks in under their ribs when they try to get air
  • As they breathe, their chest and sides pull in.
  • Wheezing that is severe
  • Coughing fits
  • Having difficulty walking or speaking
  • Lips or fingernails that are blue
  • Shortness of breath is getting worse while wheeze is getting better
  • Nostrils widened
  • a rapid heartbeat
  • I’m sweating a lot more than usual
  • Pain in the chest

Childhood Asthma Risk Factors

In children, asthma is the most common cause of long-term illness. In the United Kingdom, it affects approximately 1 million children. Experts are baffled as to why those figures have been rising.

By the age of five, the majority of children had developed their first symptoms. Asthma, on the other hand, can strike at any age.

The following factors can increase a child’s risk of developing asthma:

  • Allergies to the nose (hay fever) or eczema (allergic skin rash)
  • Asthma or allergy symptoms run in the family
  • There are numerous respiratory illnesses.
  • The birth weight that is too low
  • Before or after delivery, exposure to secondhand cigarette smoke
  • A person of African-American or Puerto Rican ancestry
  • Growing up in a low-income household

Childhood Asthma Treatment

Your child’s doctor will create an asthma action plan based on their medical history and the severity of their asthma. This section explains when and how your kid should take asthma medications, what to do if asthma worsens, and when to seek emergency medical attention. Make sure you understand the strategy and express any questions you may have to your child’s doctor.

Controlling your child’s asthma requires an asthma action plan. Keep it on hand to remind you of your kid’s daily management plan and to assist you when your child is experiencing asthma symptoms. Give copies to your child’s caregivers, teachers, and even the bus driver so they’ll know what to do if your child has an asthma attack when they’re not with you or away from home.

In addition to adhering to your child’s asthma action plan, you should limit, if not avoid, your child’s exposure to asthma triggers.

Indirect therapy

Instead of focusing directly on their child’s speech, parents use indirect therapy to modify the way they communicate and the home environment.

If your child is under the age of 5, your therapist will most likely recommend that you attempt this method initially.

If a young child has been stammering for several months and it appears to be growing worse, direct therapy should be started right soon.

Indirect techniques are frequently founded on the idea that youngsters stammer because they are unable to meet the expectations placed on their language skills.

Other people’s “demands” or a child’s own eagerness and resolve to communicate may be the source of these “demands.”

The goal of indirect therapy is to provide a setting in which a youngster feels less pressure when speaking.

This could entail:

  • To your child, speak softly and quietly.
  • Encouraging family members to take turns and listen
  • Conversing about what you and your child are doing together, such as playing, cooking, walking to pre-school, or looking at favourite books — doing more of what appears to boost your child’s fluency
  • Not interfering with your child’s activities or criticising them
  • Creating a comfortable and peaceful environment for the family

What asthma medication can children take?

Most asthma drugs used for adults and older children are also safe for toddlers and younger children. Drugs permitted for younger children are administered in doses that are tailored to their age and weight. In the case of inhaled medications, a different delivery mechanism may be required depending on the child’s age and ability. (Many children are unable to control their breathing sufficiently to utilise a regular inhaler.)

Asthma drugs can be divided into two categories:

  • Quick-relief medications. A drug that helps with abrupt symptoms. During an asthma attack, your child will take them to get immediate help.
  • Long-acting asthma treatments. This keeps asthma under control by preventing airway irritation. They’ll most likely be taken every day by your child.

Most doctors recommend daily anti-inflammatory medicines if a newborn or older child develops asthma symptoms that necessitate therapy with a bronchodilator prescription more than twice a week during the day or more than twice a month at night.

Many asthma treatments contain steroids, which have the potential to cause negative side effects. They may irritate the lips and throat of your youngster. According to some studies, they may cause sluggish growth, bone difficulties, and cataracts over time. Your child’s body may be unable to produce as many natural steroids after taking them. However, if asthma is not treated, it might cause health concerns and hospital visits. When creating an asthma action plan, you and your doctor should discuss the benefits and drawbacks of medication.

How do I give my child asthma medication?

Based on how bad your child’s asthma is, your child’s doctor will inform you how often to give them breathing treatments.

Nebulizer

You can use a home nebulizer, commonly known as a breathing machine, to give your child (typically children under the age of 4) asthma treatments. By converting asthma medications, mainly bronchodilators, from a liquid to a mist, a nebulizer can deliver them. The medicine is breathed in by your youngster through a face mask. These breathing treatments normally last 10 to 15 minutes and can be repeated numerous times throughout the day.

To use the nebulizer, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Fill the nebulizer with the medication.
  • Connect the compressor’s tubes to the base.
  • Place the mouthpiece or mask in place.
  • When the compressor is turned on, the nebulizer should emit a light mist.
  • Place the mask on your child’s face, or place the mouthpiece in their mouth and wrap their lips around it.
  • Allow them to breathe in and out for the duration of their treatment.
  • When the drug has been used up, turn the nebulizer off.
  • Get your child to cough to get any mucus out of their system.

Medication in children up to age 4

Asthma management guidelines for children under the age of four are available. For off-and-on symptoms, this involves the use of quick-relief medicines (such as albuterol). The next step is to use a modest dose of an inhaled steroid or montelukast (Singulair). After the age of four, the emphasis switches from symptom management to illness management. If your child’s asthma has been under control for at least three months, their doctor may decide to reduce their medication.

hydrofluoroalkane inhaler

Older children may be able to use a Hydrofluoroalkane inhaler (previously known as a metered-dose inhaler or MDI) with a spacer instead of a nebulizer.

A spacer is a chamber that connects to the inhaler and stores the medicine burst. This allows your youngster to inhale the drug at his or her own rate. To use an inhaler with a spacer, follow these steps:

  • Wash your hands.
  • Prime the inhaler by spraying it four times into the air the first time you use it.
  • Place the inhaler in the spacer’s aperture at the end.
  • For 10 seconds, shake it vigorously.
  • Turn your child’s head to the side and encourage them to exhale.
  • Make them shut their mouth around the spacer’s mouthpiece.
  • Tell them to take a deep breath slowly.
  • Make them count to ten while holding it in.
  • Allow them to exhale slowly.
  • If your doctor has prescribed two puffs of medicine, wait one minute after the first one before repeating the process.
  • Assist them with brushing their teeth, rinsing their mouths, or getting a sip of water.

Childhood Asthma Triggers to Avoid

Focus on recognised causes with strategies like these to avoid asthma attacks or keep them from growing worse:

  • Allow no one to smoke in your home or vehicle.
  • To keep dust mites at bay, clean your beds and carpets on a regular basis.
  • Pets should not be allowed in your child’s room. Allergens can be reduced with the use of an air filter.
  • To keep cockroaches at bay, get regular pest treatment.
  • To avoid mould, fix leaks and use dehumidifiers.
  • Use fragrant cleaning products and candles sparingly.
  • Check your local air quality reports on a daily basis.
  • Assist your child in maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Keep their heartburn under control if they have it.
  • If exercise is a trigger, your child’s doctor may recommend that he or she use the inhaler 20 minutes prior to the activity to keep their airways open.
  • Ensure that they receive a flu vaccine every year.

Complications of Childhood Asthma

Asthma, if not managed properly, can lead to complications such as:

  • Severe attacks may necessitate A&E visits or hospital stays.
  • Absence from school and other activities.
  • Fatigue.
  • Anxiety, stress, and depression are all symptoms of depression.
  • Growth or puberty delays.
  • Lung infections and damaged airways.
  • Death.

Outlook For Childhood Asthma

Asthma has no cure, but your child can learn to manage it. They should be able to do the following:

  • Prevent the onset of long-term symptoms.
  • Every day, go to school.
  • At night, stay away from asthma symptoms.
  • Participate in daily activities, play games, and participate in sports.
  • Avoid going to the doctor, the ER, or the hospital unless absolutely necessary.
  • To treat symptoms with little or no adverse effects, use and adapt drugs.

If they are having difficulty reaching all of these objectives, they should seek medical counsel.

Experts still don’t know a lot about newborn lung function and asthma. However, they believe that if a child has had several wheezing episodes, has a mother with asthma, or has allergies, they are more likely to be diagnosed with asthma by the age of seven.

Once a child’s airways become sensitive, they remain so for the rest of his or her life. When children reach their teens, however, around half of them have a significant reduction in asthma symptoms. Although it may appear that they have outgrown their asthma, some individuals will experience symptoms again. It’s impossible to know what will happen to your child.

You’ve taken a vital step in managing your child’s asthma by learning about it and how to manage it. Work closely with their medical team to learn everything you can about asthma, including how to prevent triggers, what drugs to take, and how to treat it.