Statistics show that 1 in every 10 children in the U.S. has asthma and symptoms can begin at ages as young as five. This disease causes chronic sicknesses among children and should be something parents are aware of early on.
Why your Child may Develop Asthma
Many risk factors can contribute to childhood asthma including:
• Allergens in the living environment.
• Hereditary factors, such as coming from a family with a history of asthma and allergies.
• Eating food that triggers allergies.
• Low birth weight.
• Exposure to tobacco smoke.
• Repetitive respiratory infections.
• Infection with eczema, which is a chronic skin illness.
Asthma Symptoms in Children below 5 Years
You need to watch for the following asthma signs in children under 5 years:
• Trouble in breathing.
• Persistent coughing.
• Recurring bronchitis.
• Wheezing or whistling sounds when breathing.
• An uncomfortable feeling and tightness in the chest.
The Emergency Symptoms in Childhood Asthma
Your child could have allergic reactions for just a few days, but suffer severe asthma attacks later. Even the mild but persistent childhood allergic reactions can get worse if the factors that trigger asthma including cigarette smoke aren’t dealt with. You should check for several asthma signs in children of different ages.
In infants you may notice slow feeding or shortness of breath at meal time.
In a toddler, any unwillingness to play and run because of breathing difficulties could be a sign. Your child may cough or become easily fatigued when exercising.
In older children, you may notice recurrent respiratory infections in every cold season. Cold infections in children with asthma last longer or have colds that worsen at night.
Common Childhood Asthma Emergencies
There are children who suffer life-threatening asthma attacks and require emergency treatment. Symptoms of asthma emergencies in a child below five years include hard and strained breathing that even the abdomen sucks under the ribs, gasping for air, or speech problems due to restricted breathing.
How to Diagnose and Monitor Childhood Asthma
To diagnose asthma in children is tricky because coughing, wheezing, or breathing difficulties may arise from other medical challenges, not just asthma. Your doctor can diagnose pediatric asthma by measuring the child’s lung airflow using a procedure known as spirometry.
In taking the airflow test, the pediatrician will require your child to blow heavily into a tube. The parent also needs to inform the doctor if the family has a history of asthma, hay fever, eczema, or hives. Some cases may require an allergist to do skin or blood tests so as to determine the likelihood of your child contracting asthma.
Your doctor can then prescribe medicines to suppress the inflammation in the child’s airwaves. In acute asthma, the child can use an inhaler, receive nebulizer, treatment, or get immunotherapy allergy shots. Other medications like Areospan RX are also available.
Asthma is a scary disease for many reasons, but when it occurs in children, parents can feel even more helpless. Use these tips above to help diagnose and watch for triggers and symptoms in your own kids.