Asthma in children: an overview
Here you will learn about the characteristics of asthma in adolescents and adults. If you are looking for information on asthma in children aged 12 years or less, read the article “Asthma in adolescents and adults.”
What is asthma?
Asthma causes breathing problems. Asthma provokes swelling and inflammation in the airways that lead to the lungs. During the exacerbation of the disease, the airways contract and contract severely. This prevents oxygen from circulating normally through the respiratory tract and, accordingly, makes breathing difficult for the child. Such exacerbations of the disease are called asthma attacks.
With asthma, the airways through which air enters the lungs (bronchial tubes) become inflamed. This causes a narrowing of the airways, which in turn causes shortness of breath and shortness of breath.
Asthma can affect the child’s body in many ways. Some children have asthma attacks only in the allergy season, after walking in cold air or after intense physical exertion. In others, however, seizures are more frequent and require constant monitoring by a doctor.
Even if the child’s asthma attacks are unstable, the illness can not be left without proper supervision and treatment. If the edema and inflammatory processes are left without observation, asthma can greatly affect the child’s life, limit physical activity and increase the need for regular visits to the doctor.
Even if asthma lasts a lifetime, treatment will help improve control of the disease and support the health of the child. Most children-asmatics fully play games and live a full and active life.
What is the cause of asthma?
Experts do not know the exact causes of asthma. But we know for sure that:
Asthma is transmitted by genes.
Very often, the allergy provokes the development of asthma. But not always those with an allergy suffer from asthma. And, in addition, not all asthmatics suffer from allergies.
Air pollution causes an asthma attack or worsens her condition.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Symptoms of asthma may be minor or severe. If a child has asthma, the following symptoms may occur:
A whistle, a loud or soft sound on inhaling and exhaling.
Sense of tightness in the thorax.
Sleep problems due to persistent cough or shortness of breath.
Rapid fatigue during exercise.
In most children, asthma symptoms can worsen at night, during sleep.
How is asthma diagnosed?
In addition to physical examination and questions about the general state of health, the doctor can offer the following tests:
Spirometry . This test is necessary for the diagnosis and observation of asthma in children aged 5 years and older. During the test, it is measured how quickly the child can inhale and exhale, as well as the volume of the lungs. Newborns and children under 5 years of age do not pass this test. In these cases, the doctor listens to the lungs to detect wheezing and asks questions about whether the child has wheezing or coughing.
The maximum volumetric expiratory flow rate (MOSV). It shows, with what maximum speed the child can exhale.
Radiography of the chest (necessary to confirm that the symptoms are caused by asthma, and not by any other disease).
Tests to check for an allergic reaction (if the doctor suspected that the cause of asthma symptoms in allergies).
To control asthma and determine effective treatment, you should regularly take your child to see a doctor.
How is asthma treated?
The treatment of asthma is divided into two parts. The goals of treatment are as follows:
Control of asthma for a long period. To do this, follow the treatment program on a daily basis. This is a plan in writing, which describes how to take the medicine. The program also helps to monitor the symptoms of the child and evaluate the effectiveness of the prescribed treatment. Most children take medications daily (most often an inhaled corticosteroid). Daily intake of medications reduces swelling of the airways and prevents seizures.
Stopping asthma attacks. Follow the instructions of the treatment program, which will tell you what to do in case of an attack of asthma. It helps identify pathogens that cause asthma attacks in a child. During an asthma attack, you need to take a quick-acting medicine, for example, albuterol.
The inhaler with the separator is the best way to inject the medicine into the baby’s lungs. But, in order for the child’s condition to be stable, he must use the inhaler correctly. If you are not sure that you know exactly how to use the inhaler correctly, consult your doctor.
If a child needs a quick-action inhaler more often than usual, talk with your doctor. This is a sign that the child’s asthma is out of control, and serious complications can arise.
Asthma attacks are potentially life-threatening, but they can be prevented with a treatment program. The attending physician will teach you and show you everything you need so that you can use the treatment program and follow its instructions.
What else can you do to help your child?
You can prevent asthma attacks in a child, avoiding substances that provoke seizures. They are called pathogens. These include:
Substances in the air, for example, tobacco smoke and other air pollution. Try to avoid places where people smoke.
Substances on which the child has an allergy, for example, animal hair, the products of life of dust mites and cockroaches, pollen. Get rid of allergies will help special medications.
Physical exercises. Ask your doctor about the possibility of using the inhaler before starting physical exercises.
Other. For example, dry and cold air, infections, other medicines, such as aspirin. Do not let a child practice outside when it’s cold and dry. Ask your child’s doctor about the possibility of getting a flu shot to prevent the infection, and ask what medications should be avoided.
Of course, it is very scary when a child has an attack, a feeling of helplessness arises. But daily adherence to the treatment program will help in time to recognize the impending asthma attack. The attack can be severe enough to immediately call an ambulance. But basically, a strong exacerbation can be avoided if you follow the instructions of the treatment program even at home.
Separator for metered-dose inhaler
A separator is a tube that is attached to a metered-dose inhaler. The separator tube has a valve that holds the medicine in the tube until it is inhaled. Thanks to this, you can inhale the medicine for one or more breaths (depending on your ability). Separator:
Helps prevent the development of fungal infection in the mouth (candidiasis) or hoarseness of the voice (dysphonia).
Increases the amount of medication that gets directly into the lungs, even if you find it difficult to use an inhaler.
Reduces the likelihood of swallowing the drug, and therefore reduces side effects.
The separator is recommended for use with an inhaler, especially with those containing corticosteroids. Separators are also recommended for children who may have difficulty in correctly using a metered-dose inhaler. With a dry inhaler, the separator is not used.