Asthma is a chronic lung disease characterized by difficulty in breathing as the air passage becomes temporarily inflamed and narrow. Pediatric asthma is as common as adult asthma. There are millions of children in United States suffering from this chronic ailment.
The symptoms of pediatric asthma can be mild or severe. Coughing, wheezing sound, rapid and difficulty in breathing are common symptoms of childhood asthma.It can be an episodic event and in some children symptoms occur daily.
Allergy to pollen, dust, frequent colds, cold temperature, increased moisture, air pollution, family history of asthma are some of the causative triggers for asthma attack in a child. Asthma is not curable, but the attacks and its symptoms can be controlled with medication and by taking preventive care.
What Causes Asthma In Babies?
The exact reason for pediatric asthma still remains unclear, but over sensitive immune system is considered to play a role in development of the condition.There are several factors involved in this disease. Hereditary trait, frequent respiratory tract infection and environmental conditions have substantial role in triggering an asthmatic attack.
In pediatric asthma the immune system of the child is too sensitive to certain triggers. The respiratory system reacts violently to these triggers causing inflammation and narrowing of air passage. The triggers in each child may vary. Following are some of the triggers:
- Family history of asthma or allergies.
- Frequent respiratory tract infections, especially viral infection.
- Allergy to pollen, dust, mites, animal dander, mold etc.
- History of suffering from pneumonia.
- History of hay fever.
- Changes in weather
- Premature baby
- Low birth weight
- Air pollution
Signs And Symptoms Of Pediatric Asthma
The symptoms of pediatric asthma can vary in severity. It can be mild to moderate or intense and serious. The episode of asthmatic attack can be sudden in onset or may be slow and insidious.
Below are important signs and symptoms of pediatric asthma:
- Cough more at night while sleeping.
- Whistling sound in chest while breathing.
- Short breaths.
- Chest and neck muscles are strained while breathing.
- Feeling of tightness in chest.
- Difficulty while talking.
- Gets exhausted after running or playing for a while.
- Cough and wheezing becomes worse with each episode of cold.
- Easily fatigued.
- Child has to lean forward or backward while breathing.
- Bluish discoloration of lips nails.
- Widens his nostrils while breathing.
- The child has to breathe hard for air and the abdomen is pulled inwards.
Treatment Guidelines For Pediatric Asthma
Pediatric asthma may prolong and extend to adulthood in some children; while in some children the condition gradually improves and the episodes of asthmatic attack reduce. With recent advance in patho-physiology of the disease, several medications are available to alleviate the symptoms and improve daily life of the child.
Certain medicines are used as inhalers while some medicines are given to the child in liquid form. Often these are bronchodilators which enable the child to breathe easily and allow the congestion to be removed.
As in many children the underlying trigger is allergy, parents should take care to keep the child away from allergic substances. He should stay away from pollution, chemical fumes, cigarette smoke, etc.
If there is a pet in the house, all carpets and curtains should be cleaned daily. Also change the pillow cover and mattress on which the child lies daily. As mites may be the triggering factor.