Everything You Need To Know About Childhood Asthma
In Ireland Asthma affects one in five children. It is often difficult to diagnose and many doctors will not offer a definitive diagnosis until your child is two years of age. It is important to keep your GP informed and up to date about your child’s symptoms so that they can keep a good case on file.
If your child is diagnosed with Asthma do not panic. It is very likely that it will be controlled and they will live a very normal happy life. However, if the Asthma is not controlled it can cause some worrying complications. If it is not controlled your child’s Asthma can cause them difficulties with their quality of life. It will affect fun and playing as it can make physical activity a lot more complex. They may also miss a great deal of school which will affect their learning and education.
If your child is diagnosed with Asthma it means that their airways are inflamed. The tubes that carry air in and out of their lungs experience irritation. Many children have triggers such as air pollution and dust. These can trigger excessive coughing and wheezing and should be avoided where possible. If dust is a trigger for your child it is important to regularly air out their room, use a duster to remove any dust build-ups and hoover around and under their furniture regularly.
The biggest symptoms of childhood Asthma are coughing and wheezing. In many cases, the cough is dry and tends to be worse at night time and during or after exercise. The wheeze is not always present and a wheeze in your child is not necessarily a sign of Asthma. You should take your child to the GP if you notice a persistent wheeze as it may be a sign of Asthma. Your child may also experience a shortness of breath and a tightness in their chest which they may describe as a pain in their chest or tummy.
If you are concerned about your child’s breathing your doctor may ask if you have a family history of Asthma. In many cases, the child also displays symptoms of other conditions such as Eczema and Hay Fever.
As childhood wheezing is very common in a lot of children Asthma is difficult to diagnose in children under two years of age. The most important thing is to keep your GP up to date with any issues concerning your child’s breathing. Their vulnerable airways may display episodes of difficult breathing which can be scary for any parent to witness.
If an Asthma diagnosis is made your doctor will come up with a treatment plan for your child. In some cases, the treatment plan may begin with environmental changes such as eliminating dust and carefully washing your child’s hands regularly to avoid cold and flu.
In other cases, the doctor may prescribe medication which could help prevent or control the episodes of difficult breathing. An inhaler may be prescribed along with a spacer. A spacer is a device that allows the inhaler to be administered in a more effective way. Your child can breathe deep and allow the medication to reach their lungs properly.
A Reliever Inhaler relieves symptoms quickly by opening the airways which makes it easier for your child to breathe. This inhaler is usually blue in colour. These inhalers can come with side effects such as hyperactivity and increased heart rate.
A Controller Inhaler works over time rather than offering instant relief. It reduces inflammation and builds up protection over time. This is usually brown in colour. These inhalers can come with side effects such as a sore or hoarse throat. These symptoms are usually temporary and should not cause concern. If they persist speak to your GP.
If your child is prone to Asthma Attacks they may be given access to a nebuliser. This is an effective way to administer medication and or Oxygen to your child when they are experiencing breathing difficulties.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.