According to a recent study by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 6 million reported cases of childhood asthma in the US. This goes to show that childhood asthma is a very common disease. This explains why asthma is one of the top 5 most common causes of emergency room visits by children under the age of 15. So, as a parent, you should remain vigilant and ensure that you are equipped with proactive measures to help you protect your child’s well-being and reduce chances of them suffering from asthma. Today, we want to take a deeper look into childhood asthma, symptoms, its causes and how to be prepared as a parent to tackle the menace. So, what is childhood asthma?
Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition characterized by spams in the bronchi of the lungs making it difficult to breathe. The disease affects your child’s airways and makes them more sensitive to certain triggers. Such triggers include cold, dust, certain perfumes and even pollen from certain flowers. When the inflamed airways come into contact with the triggers, they cause the body to react in a number of ways. The muscles around the walls of the airways might get so tight that breathing becomes very difficult. The lining of the airways may become inflamed and might start to flare up and swell. Alternatively, there might be a buildup of phlegm which narrows the airways and makes it even more difficult to breathe. These are proceeded by chest tightness, wheezing and uncontrollable coughing.
Causes of asthma
There isn’t a clear known cause of asthma but it is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is believed that asthma is an inherited condition and runs in certain generations. Children in such a family line are more prone to asthma attacks and will react to the various triggers in their environment. These triggers range from cold air, dust, respiratory infections to strong emotions and stress. Children will experience different symptoms when exposed to these triggers. The most common Symptoms of asthma among children include;
Shortness of breath
Chest tightness and pain sometimes
Difficulties sleeping because of shortness of breath and excessive coughing
Wheezing when exhaling. This is a whistling sound in children when they are coughing or just exhaling.
Cure for childhood asthma
Since the exact cause of childhood asthma is not known to date, there is no known cure for asthma in the US. Scientists and doctors are however working on possible routes to help cure the disease. The good news however, is that there are very many safe and effective asthma treatments available to manage asthma in children. Talk to you family doctor for the best treatment option that suits your child and he/she will prescribe the medication that will help supress the symptoms of asthma.
Childhood asthma management and parent preparedness tips
Although it cannot be cured, being knowledgeable and prepared as a parent can help manage the severity of childhood asthma. By preparedness, it means that you should be aware of the exact triggers of the asthma symptoms in your child and strive hard to make sure that your children don’t come into contact with the triggers at all costs.
You should also work closely with your doctor or allergist to determine the perfect medication that will help suppress the symptoms of the asthma in your child. Know the exact type of medication, the specific dosage, when to administer it to the child and how to administer the same to the affected child. Teach the children from an early age as well on how to take the medication and when they should do so. Make the medication accessible to them at all times because you never know when the asthma attacks set in.
Educate your child to stay aware from the triggers when in school or playing. Explain to them the meaning of triggers and the importance of staying away from them. Help them understand what they should do in case they have an asthma attack.
As a parent, make sure that you know of the closest emergency room where you can take your child to in case of an asthma attack. Before travelling with your child, make sure you know of the emergency rooms available in the area you are headed for and this will help you in case of an emergency.
Alert everyone who interacts with the child of their condition. Tell the child’s school and friends that he/she is suffering from asthma and this way, they will know what to do in case of an emergency.
Take your child for regular checkups and even if he/she is not suffering from asthma, get them checked by a qualified physician. This way, you will be sure of their condition and know of the best way to manage their condition.