Asthma in Children

What is asthma in children?

 

Asthma is a major non-communicable disease (NCD), affecting children and adults. It is a condition in which the airway in the lung narrows due to inflammation and tightening of the muscle surrounding the small airway. As a result, asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and chest tightness developed. These symptoms are usually on and off, while the asthma disease itself is a long-term condition. Asthma triggers vary from person to person, but they can also be due to a viral infection (cold), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in the weather, grass and tree pollen, feathers, strong soap, perfume, animal fur, and many more.

 

Causes of asthma in children. 

 

Although it is often difficult to find a single, direct cause, it is believed to have multiple complex causes. Many factors have been linked to an increased risk of developing asthma, such as

  • Have a close family member with asthma and/or eczema, such as parents or siblings
  • Have other allergic conditions such as rhinitis, etc.
  • Urbanization is associated with increased asthma prevalence, probably due to multiple lifestyle factors.
  • Events in early life affect the developing lungs and can increase the risk of asthma. These include low birth weight, premature birth, exposure to tobacco smoke and other sources of air pollution, as well as viral respiratory infections.
  • Exposure to a range of environmental allergens and irritants is also thought to increase the risk of asthma, including indoor and outdoor air pollution, house dust mites, molds, and occupational exposure to chemicals, fumes, or dust. 


Prevention & Control of asthma

 

Asthma cannot be cured, but good management with inhaled medications can control the disease and enable people with asthma to enjoy a normal, active life.

 

There are two main types of inhalers:

 

  • Bronchodilators (such as Salbutamol), that open the air passages and relieve symptoms
  • Steroids (such as Beclomethasone), that reduce inflammation in the air passages. This improves asthma symptoms and reduce the risk of severe asthma attack and death.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the types of inhalers available.

 

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler, especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a "spacer" device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine reach the lung more effectively.

People with asthma may need to use an inhaler every day. Their treatment will depend on the frequency of symptoms and the types of inhalers available.

It can be difficult to coordinate breathing using an inhaler, especially for children and during emergency situations. Using a "spacer" device makes it easier to use an aerosol inhaler and helps the medicine reach the lung more effectively. 

Other than this, it is also best to avoid triggers for asthma. Triggers vary from person to person; as asthmatic children grow; parents should be able to identify things that trigger their asthma attack. It can be as simple as changes in weather, temperature, etc.

In conclusion, since asthma is a lifelong disease, it is best to manage or control it by avoiding triggers in children and by adhering to the medication based on a doctor's suggestion.

References

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  2. Mayo Clinic. Childhood Asthma. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/asthma
  3. Better Health Chanel. Asthma in children. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/asthma-in-children#causes-of-asthma-in-children