Asthma is a condition that affects the lungs and causes the airways to narrow and swell. As a result, it becomes difficult for air to move in and out, causing breathing difficulties. In most cases, the shortness of breath triggers coughing in children.
Coughing makes it hard for doctors to diagnose asthma in children. For instance, childhood asthma diseases like acid reflux and postnasal drip cause coughs. Since doctors have to conduct tests to narrow down to a particular condition, it is best to take your child to the hospital when you suspect they have asthma.
Most parents would assume that chronic coughs are ordinary. Consequently, they might fail to take action against it. However, here are some health risks should you delay treatment for your asthmatic child:
• Sleep interruptions
• The condition can trigger other diseases like diabetes, cancer, sinusitis, sleep apnea, and hypertension
• Further lung inflammation that may make it harder to breath
• Trouble doing physical activities like walking upstairs
• Emotional disorders like anxiety or depression
Symptoms of Asthma
You have seen how asthma causes a chain reaction of other diseases. To stop this, you need to identify asthma symptoms in your child. Here are some signs to watch out for in your child:
• A wheezing or whistling sound when the child breaths out
• A cough that seems not to go away
• Chest pain or tightness
• Tight neck and chest muscles
• Sweating uncontrollably
• Fast heartbeat
• A blueish tinge to fingernails or lips
• Difficulty during eating
How Doctors Manage Asthma
Your doctor may prescribe asthma medication for your child, which should be used as soon as they exhibit the symptoms. Asthma medicines reduce swelling in the airways. By reducing the swelling, the airways open up and make breathing easier.
Your doctor might also prescribe inhalers for your child. Most inhalers have a propellant used to pump the medicine into the lungs. However, it is not uncommon for children to use inhalers incorrectly (check out these videos from Asthma.org.UK for information). For instance, your child should shake their inhaler before use as the propellant may not pump enough medicine to their lungs if they do not.
Another mistake is pointing the inhaler in the wrong direction. For example, your child may place the inhaler on the roof of their mouth. Instead, they should aim for the back of their throat. You will need to monitor how your child uses their inhaler until they have mastered using it correctly.
Since some people may find inhalers tricky to use, doctors can also prescribe nebulizers, also known as breathing medicines. First, a doctor has to fill up the nebulizer with liquid medicine. Your child then puts on the mask and breathes in like they usually would. You can either purchase them from a clinic or through your insurance company in hospitals.
Lastly, you can also opt for biologics. Biologics refer to jabs that you go for every few weeks. It is recommended for children who display asthma in moderate or severe levels. Your doctor will therefore assess asthma’s level of seriousness before recommending biologics.
Besides ensuring that your asthmatic child takes their medication correctly, you also need to prevent asthma attacks in your kids. Here are some asthma triggers you should be aware of:
• Dust mites that live in beddings and carpets
• Tobacco smoke
• Furry pets like cats and dogs
• Some disinfectants
• Some food additives
• Strenuous physical exercise
• Certain painkillers, like aspirin
• Weather patterns such as sudden changes in temperature and humidity
• Mold or damp
Remember, not all asthmatic children have the same triggers. As a parent, you will have to discover it by yourself. However, you can choose to be cautious and keep them away from all asthma triggers as much as practicable.
Also read: Medication Administration Methods for Kids