Asthma in children is one of the most critical diseases across the world. One of the main reasons behind this is that Asthma is a chronic disorder of a bronchial tree. So if your child has Asthma, he or she will suffer from recurrent wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. It affects the quality of life of your children and it also causes sleep disruption and induced airflow limitations.
Asthma affects more than 339 million individuals worldwide. Moreover, one of the most horrific facts about childhood asthma is that it has substantially grown in the past four decades.
Looking at the growing concern, it becomes important that the diagnosis of asthma in children is done at an early age. For instance, if your child has asthma, their lungs will get easily inflamed when they have a cold. Along with disrupting the sleep cycle, asthma attacks can also result in frequent trips to the hospital.
Although, there is no cure for asthma in children; early diagnosis can help in managing the symptoms and enhancing the quality of life of your child.
Symptoms and signs of childhood asthma
Childhood asthma types can vary from one child to the other. We have listed some of the most common symptoms of asthma in children below:
- Rapid breathing and tightness of the chest
- Long coughing spells, especially when the child does some physical activities
- Shortness of breath, tightness experienced in the chest muscles and the neck
- Irregular eating habits, seesaw retractions in the chest
- Sleeping problems because of coughing
- Rhinitis, Sinusitis, and dysfunctional breathing
- Infections in the respiratory tract
In addition to the above-mentioned symptoms, asthma in children can still be different for infants and older children.
Symptoms of Asthma in pre-school children
One of the main problems with preschool children is their inability to communicate their problems. Then how will you know if your child has asthma? Therefore, it becomes more important for the parents to be even more attentive to their symptoms. In pre-school children, symptoms for asthma treatments are:
- Excessive fatigue
- Recurrent infections in the respiratory system
- Irregular sleep
- Difficulty in breathing during playful and other physical activities
Symptoms of Asthma in school going children
The only cushion that parents have with older children is that it is easier to communicate with them as compared to the toddlers. Here are some of the common symptoms:
- Perennial cold, especially during the night
- Low levels of energy in the body
- Recurrent complaints of chest pain
Diagnosis of Asthma in children
Childhood asthma diagnosis will be vital in understanding the disease so that the child can undergo early treatment. Moreover, the parents should be even more careful if asthma and allergies run in their families. There are some tools that will help the doctor in diagnosing asthma and starting the paediatric asthma medications.
Allergy and blood testing
If the doctor suspects any kind of allergies in the child, they can perform a skin and blood test. It will help them to check for the inflammatory markers and determine the allergy triggers at an early stage.
Carrying out tests
If you are seeing any early symptoms, get your child a chest X-ray done. Moreover, if your child is older than six years, spirometry which is a simple lung test will also do the trick. Diagnosing asthma in children is difficult, but carrying out blood and skin tests apart from X-ray will help immensely.
The doctor should also concentrate on carrying different types of physical examinations. To understand early signs of allergies, the doctor should check the child’s heart and lungs, examine their nose, etc.
Understanding the medical history is vital to diagnose asthma in children at an early stage. The doctor should extensively ask about the previous medical history of the family related to different allergies. Therefore, it becomes the duty of the parents to describe the symptoms of their child in detail.
Hiding the actual details will not help in your child’s cause and will delay the process of treatment further.
Best options for Asthma treatment for children
Since there is no sure shot cure of the disease, clinical treatments become even more important. Moreover, as we don’t know at what age does childhood asthma start, the asthma treatments focus on reducing the symptoms.
There are two major types of treatments of asthma:
- Clinical Treatment
- At-home treatment
The common link between both the above-mentioned treatments is that both focus on eliminating the symptoms. In addition, they prevent ongoing airway inflammation.
Clinical treatment for Asthma in children
There are many cases in which children require paediatric asthma medications when there is a change in their lifestyle. These medications will help in managing asthma symptoms. It includes:
- Anti-inflammatories that helps in reducing the swelling and inflammation of the airways
- Bronchodilators that help in relaxing the airways and increasing airflow in the lungs
Although it is very easy to give most medications related to asthma in multiple forms, the cases with toddlers are different. For younger children, doctors use oral medications and nebulizers for their asthma treatment.
In addition to this, the toddlers are also given inhalers using a spacer device for better clinical treatment.
After understanding the severity of the asthma symptoms of your child, the doctor can prescribe two types of medicines:
- Long-term: Long-term control is needed when the child is suffering from asthma for quite some time now. This childhood asthma treatment prevents inflammation of the airways. Moreover, this medication should be taken on a daily basis for its maximum impact.
- Easy relief: If your child is suffering from shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing, easy relief medicines will help in curbing the asthma attack. Moreover, parents must make sure that their child always has an inhaler for emergency situations.
Home treatment for Asthma in children
Parents should focus on inculcating good habits in their child if he/she has been diagnosed with asthma. Practising breathing exercises regularly will help in preventing the symptoms to flare up. Also, breathing exercises will help in reducing hyperventilation.
Usage of essential oils is very beneficial in childhood asthma treatment. Various researchers also believe that regular usage of essential oils reduces asthma symptoms in children. Although, parents should not use essential oils for toddlers without proper medical consultation.
Signs of Severe Asthma attack
Below is a list of some of the vital signs that will help you determine how an asthma attack looks in a child.
- Trouble in walking, talking, and severe coughing
- Fast heartbeat and widened nostrils
- Severe wheezing and fingernails or lips turning blue
- Look if your child is using stomach muscles to breathe
- Whether the child is stopping mid-sentence to catch some breath
- More than usual sweating and chest pain
If your child has any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is better that you consult the doctor at the earliest.
Common drugs that a child can take to deal with Asthma
The drugs prescribed to the toddlers and older children are based on the ratio of their height and weight.
Moreover, if inhaled drugs are included, doctors use a different delivery device according to the age of the child. There have been cases where children find it difficult to coordinate their breath while taking an inhaler.
Parents should understand that if the airways of their child become sensitive at an early age, it will stay with them for life. Therefore, they should themselves learn and teach their child how to manage asthma attacks besides consulting a doctor. Asthma in children can take a dreadful look very quickly if parents and doctors don’t work closely with the child.
It is also important to see and monitor the trigger points on a regular basis. Because medications will serve well if the trigger points are diagnosed at an early stage.
If your child experiences any of the symptoms of Asthma, see a doctor immediately. Timely diagnosis offers the best outlook for Asthma in children. Regency Medical Centre provides the best treatment for Asthma in children in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Our team of expert pulmonologists leverages the best diagnostic facilities to ascertain the condition of your child and to offer world-class treatment that is followed by future guidance both for the parents and the child.
To talk to our doctors about your concerns, book an appointment here.