ASTHMA SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN: CHILDREN CARE
Children face unique challenges which are the leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and missed school days. There has been no known cure for childhood asthma and symptoms can continue into adulthood. Although, with appropriate treatment, your child can keep symptoms under control and avoid damage to growing and healthy lungs.
SYMPTOMS OF CHILDHOOD ASTHMA
Some common childhood asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Wheezing or whistling sound when breathing out.
- Frequent coughing worsens when your child has a viral infection or is triggered by exercise or cold air.
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest tightness
- Fatigue can be due to poor sleep.
It is important to know that asthma signs and symptoms vary differently from one child to another. It may get worse or better with time. It is difficult to know whether your child’s symptoms are caused by asthma. Another respiratory problem can cause long-lasting wheezing or other asthma-like symptoms.
WHEN DO I SEE THE DOCTOR?
Take your child to see a doctor if you notice they have asthma as early treatment can help prevent asthma attacks and control symptoms. You should see a doctor if you notice that your child complains about chest tightness, shortness of breath, constant cough, wheezing sounds. Emotional reactions too can cause or trigger an asthma attack.
Making an asthma action plan can help you monitor symptoms and know what to do if an asthma attack occurs. You must seek emergency treatment in severe cases such as seeing your child’s chest and sides pulling inwardly as he or she is struggling with breathing. Also, when your child is sweating excessively or he or she is using abdominal muscles to breathe. Asthma attacks can start with cough and then wheezing and stressed breathing sets in, seek medical assistance immediately.
CAUSES OF CHILDHOOD ASTHMA
Causes of childhood asthma have not been understood but some include:
- An inherited tendency for allergy development
- Exposure to cigarette smoke or other air polluting environmental factors
- Parents with asthma can also be a cause of childhood asthma.
- High immune sensitivity can cause the airways to swell and produce mucus once exposed to particular triggers. Different children react to different triggers uniquely. So is the delay caused by particular triggers. The triggers that vary from child to child can include allergies to pollen, dust mites, pets, viral infections such as flu, cold, exposure to cigarette smoke, and weather changes.
COMPLICATIONS OF CHILDHOOD ASTHMA
Childhood asthma can cause a few complications, including a permanent decline in lung function, missed school days, poor sleep, and symptoms that interfere with play, sports, or other activities.
PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD ASTHMA
Help your child avoid the allergens that can trigger asthma symptoms. Do not allow smoking around your child. Try to encourage your child to be active with regular physical activities that can help the lungs work more effectively making consultation with your child’s doctor frequently can help you make needed treatment adjustments to keep symptoms under control. Help your child maintain a healthy body weight as being overweight can worsen childhood asthma symptoms and can cause other health issues.
CHILDHOOD ASTHMA DIAGNOSIS
A childhood asthma diagnosis will include a depth description of medical history, be sure to describe your child’s symptoms in detail not leaving out the frequency. Your doctor will then listen to your child’s chest and lungs, observing the nose and eyes for signs 0f allergies. You might be asked to get a chest x-ray but a spirometry test will be done if the child is six (6) years and above. A spirometer measures the amount of air in your child’s lungs and how fast they can blow it out. It helps a pulmonologist know how severe asthma is.
CHILDHOOD ASTHMA TREATMENT
The detailed history of a child’s asthma will help a doctor develop an asthma action plan which will describe when and how your child should use asthma medications, what to do when an attack is happening, and when to seek immediate medical assistance. Your child’s asthma action plan is important for controlling their asthma. Be sure to keep it handy to remind you of your child’s management plan. You can also give a copy to your child’s teacher or nanny so that they will know what to do if your child has an attack away from home.
Drugs for younger children administered in doses are prescribed according to their age and weight. If it is an inhaled drug, a different delivery device based on the child’s age and ability may be necessary. Some asthma medications contain steroids which can irritate your child’s throat or mouth. You and your child’s doctor should talk about the condition attached to the medication when making an asthma action plan. Your child’s doctor will tell you how often to give your child medications depending on how severe the asthma is.
You may give your child asthma medications using a nebulizer. A nebulizer is a breathing medicine that can deliver drugs by changing it from a liquid state to a mist. Your child gets the drug by breathing it in through a face mask. This treatment usually lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. Using a nebulizer, the first step is to wash your hands, put the medicine in the nebulizer, and connect the tubes from the compressor to the base. Then, you attach the mask, turn the compressor on, and watch out for mist coming out from the face mask. The next thing to do is to put the mask on your child’s face and have them breathe in and out until their treatment time is up. Turn off the nebulizer and have your child cough to clear out mucus.