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What is asthma?

Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that causes inflation of the lungs and airways. The disease is 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 is believed that approximately 75 percent of children with asthma have allergies.
An asthma attack can be triggered by the following allergens:
  • Dust mites
  • Cockroaches
  • Mould
  • Pollen
  • Animal dander
Attacks can also be triggered by:
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Air pollutants
  • Viruses
  • Over exertion
Asthma is known to be the single most common childhood disease and is the number one cause of children being hospitalised.
 
Find out more about how asthma is treated

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