• Asthma is a common respiratory disease in children, triggered by environmental allergens, physical activity, viral infections, emotional factors, and food allergens.
• Prevention methods include reducing exposure to allergens, warming up before exercise, good hand hygiene, managing stress and anxiety effectively, and avoiding foods that trigger allergies.
• Medications and low-intensity exercises such as Tai Chi can help manage asthma symptoms.
• It is essential to have regular reviews and assessments for your child’s asthma, even if their symptoms seem under control. This will help the doctor monitor progress and adjust treatment if necessary.
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects millions of children worldwide. It is a leading cause of school absenteeism and can significantly impact a child’s quality of life. Asthma attacks can be triggered by various factors, including environmental allergens, physical activity, and viral infections.
Asthma and Your Children
It’s estimated that more than 4 million children in the United States have asthma. While most cases are mild, some can be severe and require daily medication to keep symptoms at bay.
Recognizing and understanding the causes of asthma attacks in children is crucial in preventing and managing this condition. Here are some of the most common reasons for your children’s asthma attacks, their symptoms, and prevention methods.
Environmental allergens, such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and mold spores, are children’s most common triggers of asthma attacks. When these allergens are inhaled, the immune system releases chemicals that cause the airways to become inflamed and narrow, leading to wheezing, coughing, and difficulty breathing.
Symptoms may occur immediately after exposure or can be delayed for several hours. Prevention methods include reducing exposure to allergens by using air purifiers, regularly cleaning carpets and upholstery, and avoiding outdoor activities during the peak pollen season.
Exercise-induced asthma is when the airways narrow during or after physical activity, leading to difficulty breathing. This type of asthma is more common in children with underlying asthma or allergies. Prevention methods include warming up before exercise, staying hydrated, and avoiding exercise in extreme temperatures.
Viral infections, such as colds and flu, can trigger asthma attacks in children. When the respiratory tract is infected, inflammation occurs, narrowing the airways and making breathing hard. Preventative methods include good hand hygiene, avoiding sick people, and getting a yearly flu vaccine.
Emotional factors, such as anxiety, stress, and intense emotions, can trigger asthma attacks in some children. During stress, the body releases cortisol, which can cause inflammation and constrict the airways. Prevention methods include managing stress through relaxation techniques, exercise, or counseling.
Food allergies can lead to asthma attacks in some children. Food allergies can cause mild to severe reactions and inflammation in the airways of individuals with asthma. Common food allergens triggering asthma include peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, and dairy products. Preventative methods include avoiding foods that trigger an allergic reaction, having an emergency action plan, and carrying an epinephrine auto-injector.
Getting Rid of Asthma
There is no cure for asthma, but symptoms can be controlled with proper management. Eventually, this can lead to lesser asthma attacks and possible recovery from the disease. Here are ways you can do that:
Children with asthma are usually not allowed to do intense sports. However, specific low-intensity exercises such as Tai Chi can benefit them. This martial art can help with breathing, balance, and relaxation techniques. You can enroll them in online Tai Chi lessons to get them started. The class should cover basic movements and breathing techniques.
Your child’s doctor may suggest medications to manage their asthma symptoms. Several types of medications are available, such as inhalers and nebulizers (which turn liquid medication into mist). Make sure your child takes the medication correctly and according to instructions.
It is essential to have regular reviews and assessments for your child’s asthma, even if their symptoms seem under control. This will help the doctor to monitor your child’s progress, adjust medication dose or change the type of treatment if needed.
Deep breathing exercises can help your child relax and reduce inflammation in the airways. Your child’s doctor can provide instructions on how to do these exercises correctly. You can also look for online resources or apps that guide breathing techniques. It can also help with mental and emotional well-being.
Educating yourself and your children on asthma triggers, prevention methods, and how to recognize early symptoms of an attack is essential. With a good preventive plan, children can live healthy, active lives free from asthma-induced interruptions.