Asthma is a comparatively common chronic condition that, if diagnosed and treated early, is easy to control in most children, but it must be spotted early and carefully managed with medication and monitored by doctors. Otherwise it can prove fatal. Every day people die from asthma attacks.
The disease changes our airways, making people more sensitive to triggers like dust, cold air, pollen or smoke etc.
The causes of asthma are not yet known, though some theories suggest that the condition runs in families.
When an asthma sufferer encounters a trigger (e.g. intense exercise, inhaling colder or warmer air than normal or someone smoking a cigarette nearby) their airways react by becoming narrower. The lining of the airways becomes inflamed and swollen, and can produce an excessive amount of mucus. In some cases the airways close completely.
This can leave them gasping or wheezing for breathe, constantly coughing, experiencing a difficulty talking or taking very rapid shallow breathes. Children may also experience tightness in their chest or struggle to breathe at all.
It’s tough to recognize and diagnose asthma in children because of a range of other illnesses which can cause similar symptoms.
Some children with asthma have other conditions such as hay fever and eczema.
What to do
If you’re worried about your child having asthma, make an appointment with your family doctor. They’ll be able to run tests and take information about a child’s symptoms which will indicate whether or not your child has the disease.
If asthma is diagnosed, check that you child uses their preventer inhaler regularly and reliever inhaler as needed. Try to explain to your child why this is necessary; if they understand why they have to use the inhalers, they’re more likely to do so without having to be prompted.
Asthmatic children should always know where their inhalers are and have access to them when required. You should also inform your child’s school about their asthma so that extra precautions can be put in place.
Author Bio: James Armstrong is an experienced journalist, currently writing about asthma for Dr Thom the online doctor.