We offer you a complete guide on What is childhood asthma, a disease that is more frequent than is believed and causes respiratory difficulties among other symptoms in children.
What is childhood asthma?
Asthma is a disease that manifests with wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing due to inflammation and narrowing of the airways.
What are the causes of this disease?
Generally speaking, asthma is caused by inflammation of the airways. To explain it more clearly, during an asthma attack the muscles that surround these passageways become curly and rigid, consequently the linings of the air passages swell, preventing the passage of air easily.
This disease commonly manifests itself in children and is one of the main causes of school absenteeism or recurrent visits of patients of these ages to hospitals.
For example, allergic reactions are key elements in childhood asthma and usually occur together. When children have sensitive airways, the symptoms of this disease can be manifested by inhaling triggering substances also known as allergens. The main triggers of asthma are the following:
- Animal hair or dander
- Dust and pollen
- Aspirin and other medications
- Climate season changes
- Chemicals in the air or food
- Smoke of the tabacco
- Strong emotions
- Virus infections
- Common cold.
What are the symptoms of the disease?
In childhood asthma, a series of problems that affect the respiratory tract are manifested and the most common are the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Short of breath
- Agitation or breathing faster than normal
These kinds of difficulties often become apparent because a child who has trouble breathing tends to swell and pull in the skin on the chest and neck quickly.
Other asthma symptoms include cough, dark circles under the eyes, tiredness, irritability, tightness in the chest, wheezing, or the whistle-like sound when the child exhales air from their lungs.
It should be noted that the symptoms of childhood asthma may vary according to the particular conditions of each patient. It can also manifest frequently or only when there are triggers in the environment and there are children who are more likely to have asthma attacks at night.
How is asthma diagnosed?
In general, the doctor uses a stethoscope to listen to the child’s lungs and in this way perceive the sounds of asthma, however these sounds are usually normal when you are in the middle of an asthma attack.
The main test is for the child to breathe into a device known as a spirometer which can determine the ability of the lungs to exhale air as well. If the airways are narrowed by asthma, then the amount of air decreases.
This is a device that can be kept at home to measure airflow occasionally or when required. Additionally, the doctor may order tests for skin allergies, blood tests, chest X-rays and pulmonary function tests if deemed necessary.
Childhood asthma treatment
This is a chronic disease that is treated with long-term control medications, whose daily use prevents the appearance of symptoms. Among them, the following stand out:
- Inhaled steroids.
- Long-acting bronchodilators.
- Leukotriene inhibitors.
- Disodium cromoglycate.
It’s also a good idea to prevent asthma attacks by avoiding infant exposure to triggers such as pet hair, dust mites, mold, and pollen.
Children who suffer from asthma are instructed by their parents and the treating doctor so that they always carry an inhaler with them and know how to use it correctly at those times when they feel they are about to suffer attacks, in order to prevent them and keep their airways clear.
In any case, the infant’s relatives, teachers and other responsible adults should always be informed so that they are aware of their condition and know how to assist them in a timely manner in case they need it.