What is Asthma?
Asthma is a respiratory condition in which the airway narrows and swells, and produces extra mucus which makes breathing difficult. This can result in wheezing, experiencing shortness of breath and even chest tightness. A severe asthma attack can be life-threatening.
What Causes Asthma?
Asthma sufferers have inflamed bronchial tubes that are highly sensitive. Exposure to allergens can provoke an asthma attack. However, triggers vary among individuals and may not cause symptoms immediately after exposure, making it difficult to track. It is important for parents and caregivers to keep a record of possible asthma triggers. Asthma can be triggered by:
- Allergens (e.g. dust mites, cockroach, pollen, mould, pet dander or rodents)
- Airborne irritants (e.g. air pollution, smoke, strong fumes)
- Respiratory illnesses (e.g. common colds)
- Exercise (e.g. increased physical activity)
- Climate (e.g. dry wind, cold air)
- Medicine (e.g. NSAIDs, beta blockers)
- Strong emotions or stress
- Food preservatives or enhancers
- Other medical conditions (e.g. gastroesophageal reflux disease)
Does My Child have Asthma?
Asthma symptoms can vary among individuals and appear differently at different times (e.g it may occur infrequently or mildly one time and severe during the next) Signs of asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness or pain
- Wheezing or whistling sound when exhaling
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent coughing, especially at night
How Do I Care for an Asthmatic Child?
If your child’s asthma is managed well and under control, they can likely continue with daily activities without any symptoms getting in the way. While your child’s doctor plays an important role in prescribing the required medication, the parent’s role is equally important. Parents play a critical role in observing and finding out possible asthma triggers, keeping a record of their child’s asthma and providing the proper care. These are essential to ensuring your child stays well and reduces the chances of an asthma attack until your next doctor’s appointment.