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
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.
1. Learn about asthma medicines
Understand what are preventer and reliever inhalers, and when and why your child requires them. Ease any concerns you may have about your child’s asthma medicines so you are more equipped and confident in administering the medication to your child in the event of an attack.
2. Cultivate good habits
Integrate the usage of inhalers into your child’s daily routine to ensure they do not forget to use their medicine. Ensure the reliever inhaler is always with your child and that it can be administered if an attack occurs.
3. Check your child’s inhaler technique regularly
If the inhaler is used correctly, your child will receive the optimum benefit from the treatment, recover faster and be less prone to the condition recurring.
4. Spot your child’s asthma triggers
Using the inhaler as your doctor has prescribed helps reduce airway sensitivity and inflammation. Preventive measures typically help relieve these problems and allow your child to carry on with their daily activities.