Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder which occurs in the airways and can be characterized by re-occurring troubles in breathing. Inflammation in the airway leads to airway hyperreactivity which makes the airways narrower when coming in contact with various stimuli like allergens, exercise, or cold air.
Prevalence in Children
Asthma is the most common chronic disease which occurs in childhood and its prevalence is on a rise. Asthma has also become the most common reason behind school absenteeism and hospitalizations of children in countries like US.
Signs and Symptoms
The most common of all symptoms amongst children suffering asthma are normal coughing and wheezing. Coughing can at times be the only symptom and then is known as cough-variant asthma. Other common symptoms are troublesome breathing, tightness in the chest, and night cough. In children, these symptoms can worsen by viral upper respiratory infections which can stay in children for weeks. Smoking can make asthma out of control for adults but passive smoking for children too can aggravate the condition. Children suffering from asthma often have a history of bronchitis or a recurrent croup-like cough.
How to Diagnose Asthma in Children?
The diagnosis of asthma in children is completely a clinical process. If a child has a family history of the disease and experiences breathing problems during physical activities or has prolonged respiratory infections must be checked for the disease. If a child is 5 years of age or above, they can undergo a spirometry test which is a breathing test to measure lung function. Also, chest X-rays can be sometimes performed for diagnosing asthma in children.
In order to completely control the symptoms of asthma and reduce the risk of future attacks, you can make your child inhale corticosteroids which is the most effective inflammatory medication for asthma. Other medications that can be used are:
• Short-acting bronchodialators which can give quick relief when breathing difficulty occurs due to exercise-induced symptoms.
• You can also use inhaled steroids to give relief to your child.
• Leukotriene modifiers can also work as anti-inflammatory agents during an attack.
Asthma medications can be given via a nebulized solution which is very easy to manage with children.
The forecast of the disease can be made best in children who wheeze with viral respiratory infections. Often it is difficult to differentiate between early wheezers and children who actually suffer from the disease.
Children suffering from asthma can outgrow the disease with proper care and medication.
Image courtesy: Getty Images
Read to more on Asthma Treatment
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