Asthma is a chronic airway disorder which is characterized by obstruction in air passage. The obstruction is caused due to inflammation of the bronchial tree. The condition reverses either spontaneously or subsides after taking medicines. Asthma is one of the chronic illnesses in children often encountered by pediatricians. Nearly 7 to 8 million children are known to suffer from asthma in United States. Most children prone to suffer from asthma develop this condition by the age of 5.
The symptoms can be variable. They can be mild, moderate or severe. Family history, allergies, frequent respiratory tract infection, exposure to environmental pollution particularly cigarette smoke are the common triggers.The symptoms of asthma include tightness in chest, recurrent wheezing and cough. These bothersome symptoms can interfere in child’s daily activities such as schooling, playing sports, and even sleep.
Even if the symptoms are mild, asthma must never be ignored as in rare cases it may be fatal. Home remedies together with conventional bronchodilator medications are beneficial. However, problematic severe asthma may need hospitalization.
Causes And Risk Factors For Pediatric Asthma
There are two main triggers causing asthma in children; allergic and non allergic. Allergic triggers may be caused due to inhaling substances from the environment leading to inflammation and tightening of the air passage.
Non allergic triggers can be in the form of viral infection, smoke, exercise, hereditary, etc. The important risk factors for developing childhood asthma are:
- Family history of asthma, eczema, allergy.
- Nasal rhinitis.
- Frequently occurrence of respiratory infections.
- Second hand inhalation of cigarette smoke.
- Exposure to environmental dust, fumes, air pollution.
- Allergy to animal dander, mite increases the risk of asthma.
- Premature birth: The prevalence of asthma is high in premature born babies and infants.
- Urban areas having high rate of pollution.
Signs And Symptoms Of Pediatric Asthma
Below are given common symptoms of asthma in children. Asthma in children often coexists with allergies and other atopic skin conditions such as eczema.
- Audible wheezing sound when breathing.
- Rapid breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Congestion and tightness in chest.
- Pain in chest in young children.
- Loss of sleep and appetite. Loss of sleep because most asthma attacks occur at night.
- Infection such as cold and flu makes the symptoms worse.
- Severe prostration
- Increased irritability
- Bluish appearance of skin in case of severe asthma.
- Use of accessory muscles while breathing.
- Due to exhaustion from labored breathing the child will not like to play and sit quietly in one place.
- Child may have to sit all the time even at night.
- Widened nostril while breathing.
Natural Remedies For Pediatric Asthma
Childhood asthma is common all over the world. Treatment measure is to achieve control over asthma by optimizing lung function and to reduce asthma exacerbation. Conventional treatment of asthma in children consists of using bronchodilators and low dose of steroid. In many children nebulizer is used, especially in emergency care. Nebulizer is a device that helps to administer medicines in the form of mist that can be inhaled.
Alternative remedies that may help asthma patient include:
- Basil leaves are beneficial for childhood asthma. Pluck few basil leaves and clean them with water. Extract juice out of basil leaves. Mix one teaspoon of juice with one teaspoon of honey. The anti -asthmatic properties in basil leaves provide relief to the patient.
- The anti inflammatory properties of turmeric are well known. Mix a pinch of turmeric powder into warm milk. Let the child drink this milk daily during asthmatic attack and even daily when the attack has subsided.
- Boil half teaspoon of caraway seeds in water. Inhaling steam released by the boiling water will reduce the symptoms of asthma.
- Take one teaspoon of honey and a pinch of turmeric powder. Mix both of them thoroughly. Let the child take this mixture. It helps to reduce the symptoms of asthma.
Homeopathy has many remedies for treating asthma. Since it works on the principle of individualization, parent must consult a good homeopath for treatment. Homeopathy is effective especially if the underlying cause of asthma is allergy.