Considered to be the most common chronic disease in children, asthma affects over 4 million of children below 18 years old. If your child is among the many affected by this illness, then you must be well-informed and educated in order to manage asthma properly.
Childhood asthma is characterized by the inflammation of the bronchial airways resulting to the production of excessive mucus, swelling and contraction of the respiratory muscles. The sudden change in the respiratory system obstructs the airways making breathing difficult. When this happens, your child will experience shortness of breath punctuated by coughing and wheezing. An asthma attack may be mild, moderate or severe. In any case, it would still be better if an asthma episode is prevented. The cause of childhood asthma can not be pinpointed to a single factor. Many experts believe that childhood asthma is partially hereditary and have a strong allergic component. The inflammation of the airways may also be caused by allergy, airborne irritants or viral infections. A child with asthma might experience recurrent respiratory infections such as pneumonia or bronchitis. If your child coughs after a strenuous physical activity like running or crying, he should also be evaluated for asthma. Childhood asthma can cause a child to be irritable because of the discomfort from chest tightness and difficulty in breathing. You would also be surprised that there is a condition called hidden asthma. This kind of childhood asthma is diagnosed by testing the child's pulmonary function. The child will exhibit only mild symptoms that are sometimes unrecognizable. Childhood asthma is commonly triggered by exercise, infections, allergy, irritants, weather and emotion. The most common trigger among these is exercise affecting nearly 80% of all children with asthma. You could prevent an asthma episode by giving your child a bronchodilator medication before any physical activity. Among these physical activities, swimming is the least likely to trigger an asthma attack. Respiratory infections, caused by a virus, are also one of the most common triggers of childhood asthma. This is why it is recommended for babies to have their flu vaccination. You can also prevent asthma by ensuring our child is well-hydrated. Allergies are also known to trigger childhood asthma attacks. Allergens such as dust, pollen and even food can cause inflammation in the airways resulting to an asthma episode. Changes in weather conditions can also trigger an asthma attack. There have been numerous studies proving that cold air provokes an asthma episode. Your child should a wear protective mask or even a simple heavy scarf to prevent from inhalation of cold air. Weather conditions like strong winds can scatter dust and pollen in the air increasing the chances of an asthma attack. If you're experiencing weather conditions like this, it might be a smart idea to stay under the protection of the indoors. This way, none of the asthma will flare up.
Lastly, emotional stress caused by anxiety, anger or frustrations are also childhood asthma triggers. Child experiencing emotional stress often breathes rapidly or suffers from hyperventilation which can further worsen an asthma attack. You should try to encourage your child to relax and stay calm. Once your child's breathing returns to normal, you can administer asthma medication.