Understanding Asthma as a Pediatric Condition
Asthma is a chronic medical condition that affects the respiratory system. Some people have lungs that are highly sensitive to certain substances known as triggers. These triggers may be items in the natural world such as pollen or when the person has a cold. According to Newport Children’s Medical Group, when it comes to pediatric asthma, exercise can also be a trigger. In exercise-induced asthma, a trigger might be playing a continuous physical activity like soccer. The air coming through the mouth causes asthma exacerbation because it’s cooler than air breathed in through the nose. It makes the airways to narrow.
What happens when triggered is that the airways become inflamed and the sufferer may find it hard to breathe. While asthma is a serious medical condition, it can be managed with careful care. Asthma may develop at any time. Children who have been diagnosed with asthma face specific challenges that parents must be aware of as the child grows. Fortunately, paying close attention to the child’s needs can ward off attacks and make sure the child remains healthy as they grow up.
Know the Symptoms
Any indication the child has asthma should be dealt with by a medical professional as soon as possible. It’s important to keep an eye out for certain symptoms when speaking to medical professionals. Just like adults, asthma symptoms in children can vary. Some children may have few if any daily issues. Others may struggle with more severe symptoms that worsen over time. A child may have a sudden attack when unexpectedly exposed to a specific trigger. In general, childhood asthma signs include coughing at night, wheezing, and difficulty breathing in some way. Children may also have other symptoms that are not related to breathing. Children may indicate they have chest pain or chest congestion that lingers. They may find they get up tired and find it hard to sleep at night. If a child catches a cold, the cold may linger long after the child should have recovered.
An asthma diagnosis may also be made in the event of an emergency. If a child has obvious trouble breathing and cannot catch their breath or they can’t speak without gasping for air, immediate emergency treatment may be warranted. Once a diagnosis is made, parents should be aware of likely treatment methods. Pediatricians may refer the patient to a specialist for further development of a specific treatment plan. Emergency treatments typically consist of medications known as short-acting bronchodilators. These can head off any existing symptoms and make sure the child can breathe for several hours. However, while immediately effective, they cannot prevent future asthma attacks. In that case, it may be necessary to consider other forms of safe and effective treatment for childhood asthma.
Long Term Control
Varied kinds of long term steps may be taken to avoid additional attacks. One thing that many doctors look for are the child’s asthma triggers. A child may be offered allergy-desensitization shots designed to avoid the body’s overreaction to certain substances. Children may be subject to asthma attacks during certain times of the year such as spring when pollen is common. A parent should work closely with their doctor to develop a plan that addresses the child’s specific asthma issues. Many children with asthma are given what are known as maintenance medications. These are specifically designed to ward off any potential attacks. Common childhood asthma medications include inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers and combination inhalers that may include one or more medications in a single dose. Parents should know how to use these devices. This allows them to teach the child how to use them correctly in case of an attack.
Keeping asthma under control has many benefits. Children who have access to the care they need avoid unnecessary ER visits, extended hospital stays and missed school days. They can also learn how to successfully manage their condition as they transition to the adult world.