Children with a recurrent cough, wheezing, chest tightness or shortness of breath may have one or more forms of asthma.
If these symptoms are left untreated, asthmatic children can have less stamina than other children, or avoid physical activities to prevent coughing or wheezing.
Sometimes, they will complain that their chest hurts or that they cannot catch their breath.
Colds and flus may go straight to their little chests, or they may cough when sick, particularly at night time.
Monitoring cases of childhood asthma is crucial to limit risks to your little one, so here is a guide to what every mum needs to know about the condition.
Symptoms of childhood asthma:
- Frequent coughing spells, which may occur during play, at night, or while laughing or crying
- A chronic cough
- Less energy during play
- Rapid breathing.
- Complaint of chest tightness or chest 'hurting'
- Whistling sound when breathing in or out (wheezing)
- See-saw motions in the chest from laboured breathing
- Shortness of breath, loss of breath
- Tightened neck and chest muscles
- Feelings of weakness or tiredness
What causes childhood asthma:
- Nasal allergies (such as hayfever) or eczema
- A family history of asthma or allergies
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Low birth weight
- Exposure to tobacco smoke before or after birth
How to treat childhood asthma:
An asthma inhaler is a handheld device that delivers medication straight into your lungs. You get the drugs faster, and with fewer side effects than you would if you took it by pill.
Steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs
The key treatments for asthma are steroids and other anti-inflammatory drugs. These asthma drugs both help to control asthma and prevent asthma attacks.
Bronchodilators: airway openers
A bronchodilator is used by almost all people with asthma as an effective way to open the airway passages.
An asthma nebulizer (breathing machine) can deliver medication to the youngest asthma patients.
Sometimes, stronger asthma medications, such as pills, are needed. Prednisone can effectively treat an asthmatic attack.
Bronchial Thermoplasty for Asthma
Bronchial thermoplasty is a treatment for severe asthma.
The procedure uses gentle heat to shrink the smooth muscles in your lungs - the ones that tighten during asthma attacks and make it hard to breathe.
Will your child outgrow asthma?
Many babies who wheeze with viral respiratory illnesses will stop wheezing as they grow older.
If your child has atopic dermatitis, allergies, or if there is smoking in the home or a strong family history of allergies or asthma; there is a greater chance that asthma symptoms will persist.
Should your child exercise?
Once a child's asthma is controlled, exercise should become part of his or her daily activities. Children with asthma certainly can, and do excel in athletics.
Fun fact: many Olympic athletes have asthma.