Asthma is an ongoing disorder that causes an inflammation of lungs causing airway obstruction. Airway obstruction happens when the inflammation causes the airways to narrow in response to various stimuli such as allergens, exercise, and cold air.
Childhood asthma can be managed by controlling inflammation with appropriate medications and avoiding triggers when possible.
Asthma is the most common disorder found in children and its prevalence is increasing day by day. Along with asthma other allergy conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis), hay fever (allergic rhinitis), and food allergies are also very common in children.
In India, the prevalence of between 10 and 15 percent is seen among children between 5-11 years of age.
The most common symptoms that are found in children affected by asthma are:
Symptoms are made worse by:
Diagnosing asthma in children aged 0-5 years can be difficult because:
A child's allergist may need a handful of information about the child in order to diagnose asthma. The allergist may need information about:
Diagnosis of asthma in case of infants is quite difficult because asthma symptoms in infants can be caused by many things that may need very different therapies. The diagnosis should be done on the basis of:
The diagnosis of asthma in children is done in a series of steps including:
The doctor may ask about the family history of asthma, severity of symptoms, patterns of symptoms, triggers of asthma symptoms and related health conditions like a running nose or psychological stress.
The doctor may listen to the breathing to look for symptoms of asthma.
There are some tests done to confirm the asthma diagnosis including:
This test is also known as spirometry. This test checks the functioning of the lungs. It measures the amount of air the child can breathe in and out. It also measures how fast the child can blow the air out.
Then the doctor gives some medicines to the child and checks again for asthma. If the starting results are lower than normal and improve after taking medicines then the child may have asthma.
The doctor may need more information in the diagnosis process and so he may recommend some more tests. These tests may include:
The goals for the treatment of asthma in children are to
The treatment depends on the severity and frequency of the symptoms. To deal with childhood asthma, two types of medicines that are prescribed by the doctor are:
Quick-relief medicines are given to treat the noisy part of the disease like the coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. These medicines are given at the onset of the symptoms for a quick relief. Therefore, it should be carried by the child all the times.
This type of medicine is given to the asthmatic child to treat the quiet part of asthma which includes the in?ammation of the airways. It is taken daily to prevent the symptoms.
These medicines can be taken by:
There is no certain prevention method for the childhood asthma but there are things that reduce the chances of children getting asthma. Some of those factors are:
Parents should never smoke in the areas that can affect the child such as at home, in the car and at daycare environments.
Pregnant women should never smoke as it has adverse effect on the fetus.
Airborne allergens like house dust mites, animal dander and mold should be avoided to reduce the symptoms.
Breastfeeding is the best food for the baby. It should be continued for as long as possible because it helps the baby's immune system to develop properly and reduces any risk of infections in the baby.
Allergic mothers should avoid cow's milk and other dairy products such as egg, peanut, and soy products during breastfeeding. Solid foods should be introduced gradually at six months of age.
There are certain natural home remedies which can be given to the child affected by asthma:
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