An average of 9 million children within the US are reported to have asthma, with as much as 196,000 annual hospitalizations. It is, therefore, among the most widespread chronic pediatric disorders and can cause mild to extremely serious problems. The best way to learn how to deal with asthma in children is by informing yourself on everything, from causes and symptoms, to treatment and managing it.
What is It?
The word asthma, translated from the ancient Greek, means ‘panting’. It is an inflammatory lung condition, which causes breathing difficulties. When someone suffers from asthma, their airways undergo changes, triggered by either allergens, or other environmental conditions and cause one of two specific responses:
- The hyperreactive response
- The inflammatory response
The Hyperreactive Response
When it comes to this response, the smooth muscles within the airways constrict and narrow to a large degree, as a response to inhaled allergens or irritants. When people who don’t suffer from asthma breathe deeply, their airways relax and open, so as to rid the lungs of the allergen, or irritant. When it comes to people with asthma, instead of relaxing, their airways narrow and the afflicted start to pant for breath.
The Inflammatory Response
After the hyperreactive stage, the inflammatory response ensues, causing the immune system to deliver white blood cells to the airways. This further causes swelling in airways, filling them with fluid and producing a thick layer of sticky mucus. This causes wheezing, lack of breath, not being able to exhale properly and a phlegm-producing cough.
The treatment for children with asthma isn’t very different from the treatment for adults. Avoiding allergen triggers is always advised. When it comes to medication types, there really is no difference between treating adults and treating children. However, a 2-year-old cannot use an inhaler, so they might need a nebulizer. The inhaled medications include fluticasone, mometasone, or budesonide – steroids, used with the goal of reducing inflammation. Beta-agonist medication allows the muscles to relax.
Parents with children who suffer from asthma will need to focus on keeping their homes clean, seeing as how allergens, dust mites and dust in general are common asthma triggers. It is especially important that a parent pays attention to the seasonal changes and air filtering devices are recommended for use. Check for air purifier rating online to come up with a quality one – it is the parents’ duty to take care of their kids.
Children are significantly more likely to be exposed to allergens and other asthma triggers at school than they are so at home. As a parent, you need to educate the teacher about your child’s affliction while a teacher should already know the basics of the condition. Wheezing and coughing aren’t the only symptoms of an asthma attack. A teacher needs to know how to spot if a child is behaving differently, specifically being calmer – this might be due to the fact that the child in question is breathing 30 to 40 times in a minute and is, in fact, exhausted.
If a child has asthma, it is its teacher’s obligation to make sure that it has integrated with its peers. One of the common problems in asthmatic children is being stigmatized and not being able to bond with other children, which can lead to ADHD, depression and learning disabilities.
Asthma in children is rarely curable, but it is more than treatable. The afflicted child may need more attention. When it comes to school, it is extremely important that the teacher is introduced with the child’s condition and how to deal with potential problematic situations. It is important that everyone around an asthmatic child knows the basics of the issue.