By: Dr Behrouz Hashim
Asthma is an inflammatory disorder of the airways, which causes attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing. Pediatric asthma refers to asthma in children. Following are some of symptoms, triggers and treatment of asthma in children.
Symptoms Of Asthma In Children
- Difficulty breathing
- Fast breathing
- Shortness of breath, even at rest
- Tightness in the chest
- Children may have to sit up all night to breath , lying down just worsens the asthma symptoms.
Note: A persistent night time cough is one co0mmon sign of asthma, even in children without other symptoms.
You must take your child to hospital quickly if following emergency symptoms shown up:
- Difficulty breathing
- Bluish color to the lips and face
- Severe anxiety due to shortness of breath
- Rapid pulse
- Decreased level of alertness, such as severe drowsiness or confusion.
Common Asthma Triggers Include:
- Animals hair or dander
- Aspirin and other medications
- Change in weather (most often cold weather)
- Chemicals in the air or in food
- Strong emotions
- Tobacco smoke
- Viral infections, such as common cold
Children airways are narrower than those of adults. This means that triggers that may cause only a slight problem in an adult can create a more serious problems in children. In children, an asthma attack can appear suddenly with severe symptoms. It is important that asthma be diagnosed and treated correctly. Some children may need to take medicines every day to prevent attacks, even when they do not have symptoms.
Treatment Of Asthma In Children
You and your child’s pediatrician should work together as a team to create and carry out an asthma action plan. This plan should outline how to:
- Avoid asthma triggers
- Monitor symptoms
- Take medicines
There are two basic kinds of medication for the treatment of asthma:
- Long term control medications
- Quick relief or rescue medications
Types Of Long Term Control Medications Include:
- Inhaled steroids prevent swelling in your airways, these are almost the first choice of treatment.
- Leukotriene inhibitors such as Singulair
- Long acting bronchodilators such as Serevent help open airways are usually used in combination with inhaled steroids.
- Cromolyn sodium(intal)
- Aminophylline or theophylline (not used as frequently as in the past)
Quick relief or rescue, medications are used to relieve symptoms during an attack. These include:
- Short acting bronchodilators (inhalers), such as Proventil, Ventolin.
- Corticosteroids, such as prednisone or methylprednisolone given by mouth or into a vein.
Prevention Of Asthma In Children
There is no fool proof method to prevent asthma attacks. The best way is to reduce number of attacks is to eliminate triggers especially cigarette smoke.
Remove all curtains, carpets, stuffed toys, and old pillows from child bedroom.