Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflation of the lungs and airways. The disease if characterised by sudden attacks of hard breathing and coughing. During an attack the chest will also constrict and cause pain.
In a child with asthma, the airways become irritated and swollen. As the lining of the airway becomes inflamed, mucus is produced and the muscles of the airway tighten. This causes laboured breathing and wheezing.
Asthma can be controlled but if left untreated can also be deadly. Doctors will prescribe medication in the form of inhalers. These inhalers provide quick relief by opening the airway. If your child does not have this medication and you notice symptoms, seek medical attention promptly.
Allergies and asthma go hand in hand. It’s believed that approximately 75 percent of children with asthma have allergies. In fact, an asthma attack can be triggered by certain allergens like dust mites, cockroaches, mould, pollen, or animal dander. Attacks can also be triggered by tobacco smoke, air pollutants, viruses, and over exertion.
Asthma is known to be the single most common childhood disease and is the number one cause of children being hospitalised.
Treatment can include inhalers to open the airways and stop the muscle spasms and nebulisers that provide a medical mist that the child breaths. There are also steroidal drugs that are known as controllers, which help to reduce inflammation. Non-steroidal drugs are also available. It just depends on what will work for your child.
There are really no steps that you can take that will prevent the development of asthma. If your child is going to get asthma, they will get it. Once a child is diagnosed with asthma, you can do things to prevent an attack.
Eliminate expose to dust mites as much as possible. Use a mattress cover made for allergy sensitivity, remove carpeting and replace with hard flooring, replace fabric drapes with window blinds, and wash bedding frequently.
You can also limit your child’s exposure to air pollutants such as ozone, by keeping them indoors on high pollution days.
Things like a campfire, a fireplace, or barbeque smoke can irritate the airway and trigger an attack. Keep your child away from these irritants.
Lastly, you can reduce the mold in your home by using exhaust fans in humid areas and using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier. It’s best to keep the humidity at 35 to 50 percent.
Unfortunately, there is not a cure for asthma and the condition requires close medical supervision in order to manage the symptoms.