It can be difficult for parents to determine whether their child’s coughing is serious or not, particularly right now with the threat of Covid-19 and its many variants still looming.
This article should help you identify whether your child suffers from asthma. However, whatever you believe, it is vital you seek advice from your doctor and schedule an appointment.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a chronic, inflammatory condition of the bronchial tubes that make breathing difficult. The airways become smaller and produce extra mucus, making air passage difficult.
What are the symptoms of asthma?
Repeated respiratory infections
Asthma often causes a weakening of the immune system. This, in turn, results in the body’s inability to handle even minor infections. If your child has frequent bouts of bronchitis or pneumonia or always seems to have a cold, it is a good idea to consult with a doctor.
If your child seems to have a chronic cough or a coughing spell is brought on by exercise or emotional stress, it may be an indication of undiagnosed asthma. Night-time coughing is common in asthmatics and can be very disruptive to sleep.
Wheezing is the most often recognized symptom of asthma. As the airways restrict and the passage of air becomes difficult, a whistling sound can often be heard. When it is severe, it will seem that your child is struggling for air. A child may also feel tightness in their chest when they breathe like the pressure is being applied or their clothes feel too tight.
If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, seek advice from your physician. It is easier to have a diagnosis and treatment plan before the onset of an actual asthma attack.
A full-scale asthma attack is a frightening experience for both the child and the parent. The inability to breathe can bring on extreme stress and feelings of panic. This will only exacerbate the attack. It is essential to keep your child calm and seek immediate medical attention.
An asthma attack can be a result of environmental triggers to an already underlying asthmatic condition. Diagnosis and treatment will help you avoid them in the future.
Can babies have asthma too?
When children are too young to speak, it becomes the parents’ responsibility to look for indications of asthma. Shortness of breath, rapid, noisy breathing, soft, short cries; difficulty breathing; and a shrunken-looking chest are all signs of asthma in babies. They will also have trouble breathing while they are eating and may be fussy eaters as a result.
A normal baby has a respiratory rate of approximately 40 times per minute. Adults breathe much more slowly. Parents of asthmatic babies can learn what their child’s regular breathing rate is and actually count it to determine if they are having an attack.
Some science suggests that the likelihood of a baby or child developing asthma is lessened when they are breastfed. However, for many, this is not the case. My eldest was combination fed and has asthma. This was diagnosed when she was around seven months old, wheezing badly following a cold. My youngest was fed in the exact same way yet does not share her sister’s breathing struggles.
Treatment of asthma
No parent wants to be told their child has asthma, but it is a very treatable condition. There is now a wide range of treatment options available that make it possible for your child to live an active life.
The first thing you will want to do is have your family doctor run tests to determine your child’s triggers. Then you can work to protect him from exposure to them. Next, some form of medication will be prescribed. There are two main types:
These medications include steroids and corticosteroids, and they work by reducing the swelling of the airways as well as mucus production. This helps prevent asthma attacks.
They help relax the muscles in the airways allowing them to remain open so that air can pass through more freely. They also help the mucus clear from the lungs.A combination of treatments will most likely be used. Your doctor will determine the nature of your child’s asthma and treat it accordingly. For many children, it can be trial and error to get it right, but there will be the right combination for your child.