All about Asthma

 
Contributed by : Ravina Sewani   
All about Asthma

Here are Asthma Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Risk factors, Treatment, Prevention, and Complications.

In asthma, a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow and swell and produce extra mucus, which makes it difficult to breathe. If your child has asthma, their lungs and airways can easily get inflamed when they have a cold or are around things like pollen.


Causes:

  • Allergens: mould, pollen, animals
  • Irritants - cigarette smoke, air pollution, chemicals, odours
  • Weather: cold air, changes in weather
  • Stress: It can make your child short of breath and worsen their symptoms.
  • Airway Infections: This includes colds, pneumonia, and sinus infections.
  • Exercise


Symptoms:

  • A cough that doesn’t go away (this might be the only symptom sometimes)
  • Frequent coughing spells, especially during play or exercise, at night, in cold air, or while laughing or crying
  • A cough that gets worse after a viral infection
  • Less energy
  • Avoiding sports or social activities
  • Trouble sleeping because of coughing or breathing problems
  • Rapid breathing
  • Chest tightness or pain
  • Wheezing, a whistling sound when breathing in or out
  • Shortness of breath
  • Trouble eating, or grunting while eating (in infants)



A severe asthma attack needs medical care right away. During severe asthma attack, watch for these signs:

  • Stopping in the middle of a sentence to catch a breath
  • Using stomach muscles to breathe
  • Widened nostrils
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating more than usual
  • Chest pain

 

Risk Factors:

  • Things that can make a child more likely to have asthma include:
  • Nasal allergies or eczema
  • A family history of asthma or allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Low birth weight
  • Exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke before or after birth.


Diagnosis:

  • Your child’s doctor will ask you a series of questions about medical history, symptoms, about any breathing problems your child may have had, family history of asthma, allergies, eczema, or other lung disease.
  • Physical exam: Your doctor will listen to your child's heart and lungs and look in their nose or eyes for signs of allergies.
  • Tests: Chest X-ray, allergy skin testing, blood tests


Complications:

  • Asthma can cause problems like:
  • Severe attacks, sometimes leading to ER visits or stays in the hospital
  • Fatigue
  • Stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Delays in growth or puberty
  • Damaged airways and lung infections
  • Death


Treatment:

  • There are two main types of asthma medications:
  • Quick-relief medication that help with sudden symptoms. Your child’s doctor will prescribe these for fast help during an asthma attack.
  • Long-acting medication that prevent airway inflammation and keep asthma under control. Your child’s doctor will probably ask your child to take these every day.
  • Children under 4 may be prescribed to take their medications through an asthma nebuliser. This device changes the medicine from a liquid to a mist that your child can breathe into their lungs. The doctor will tell you how often to give these breathing treatments. To use the nebuliser:

Wash your hands.

Put the medicine in the nebuliser.

Connect the tubes from the compressor to the base.

Attach the mouthpiece or mask.

Turn the compressor on and watch for a light mist to come from the nebuliser.

Put the mask on your child’s face, or put the mouthpiece in their mouth and have them close their lips around it.

Have them breathe in and out until their treatment time is up.

Turn the nebuliser off when the medicine is gone.

Have your child cough to clear out any mucus.


Prevention:

  • To prevent asthma attacks or to keep them from getting worse, focus on known triggers with steps like these:
  • Don’t let anyone smoke near your child.
  • Clean bedding and carpets often to fight dust mites.
  • Keep pets out of your child’s bedroom.
  • Fix leaks and use dehumidifiers to prevent mould.
  • Don’t use scented cleaning products or candles.
  • Check daily air quality reports in your area.
  • Help your child stay at a healthy weight.
  • If exercise is a trigger, your child’s doctor might give them medicine to help keep their airways open during activity.
  • Make sure they get a flu shot every year.



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