Watching your child suffer from any illness is heartbreaking. As parents, we often wish we could absorb their pain and suffer for them. Since that is not possible, parents can only try to provide the best care and support for their child during times of need. One of those times is when children develop asthma symptoms and have difficulty breathing, which can be scary for any parent. Luckily, it is a common illness and easily managed.
What is Asthma?
Topping the list of common chronic childhood disorders, asthma affects approximately 7.1 million American children under 18 years old, according to the American Lung Association. If triggered, the lining of the lung swells, then the muscle tightens, causing excess mucus to secrete. These events lead to what we know as an asthma attack. Asthma attacks result in narrowed airways, making it very difficult to breathe normally and producing the “wheezing” sound that is often thought of as synonymous to asthma.
Asthma is described as having excessively sensitive lungs. There are various stimuli for an attack, including:
- colds or respiratory illnesses
- sudden exposure to cold air
- cigarette smoke
- allergic reactions
- air pollutants
How can I monitor and treat Asthma in my child?
Asthma can be life-threatening if left untreated. It does, however, have easy to spot symptoms. A chronic cough, frequent coughing fits due to laughing or crying, rapid breathing, wheezing, complaints of the chest being tight, and painfulness and shortness of breath are all common symptoms. Some of these are also characteristic of bronchitis or other respiratory illnesses, so tests are often used to confirm asthma.
Treating asthma in children requires that parents keep a close watch on daily symptoms and helping the child to avoid triggers. Keeping children away from cigarette smoke is also helpful. Asthma drugs, usually in the form of inhalers or nebulizers, can also be prescribed by the child’s doctor. Your child’s doctor will work with you to develop an action plan, which includes what to do when symptoms worsen due to season or allergies, when to seek emergency care and how to handle daily triggers. It is important that the child’s school and/or daycare has a copy of this plan and is aware of the child’s condition.
Asthma cannot be cured, but with careful treatment, can be managed, though children usually have a noticeable decrease in asthma symptoms by their adolescence. If you think your child is suffering from asthma symptoms, Southwest Children’s Clinic in West Jordan, UT can help. Visit www.swcclinic.com to schedule an appointment for your child today.