Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects the health and well-being of about six million kids in the United States alone. Life-changing and life-threatening when not well-controlled, asthma requires vigilant care, including monitoring of symptoms.
What Is Asthma
Asthma is a continuing or chronic disease that makes breathing hard for children. It affects the airway and the smaller bronchioles and alveoli (air sacs) in the lungs.
Caused by inflammation triggered by common allergens, exercise, flu, other respiratory infection, and even stress, asthma can lead to missed school days and even hospitalization. During an asthma flare-up, the child’s airway becomes constricted, filling with mucus, and is so irritated that breathing becomes labored.
Unfortunately, parents may see asthma symptoms and mistake them for a bad cold or the flu. While these illnesses can precipitate an asthma attack, their symptoms do not persist or frequently recur as asthma symptoms do. So, if you see persistent respiratory symptoms in your child, see your pediatrician immediately for an in-office exam.
What Are the Early Signs of a Developing Asthma Attack
The signs that your child is starting an asthma attack are:
- Labored, rapid respirations
- Fast heart rate
- Coughing, especially at night
- Wheezing with each breath
- Sternal retraction (skin pulls in at the rib cage and top of the breast bone with each breath)
Also, your child may complain of chest tightness and extreme fatigue. Children with allergies may exhibit an increase in their sneezing, itching, watery, puffy eyes, and nasal congestion.
What Should You Do to Manage Your Child’s Asthma
Through a physical examination, review of symptoms, chest X-ray, and other respiratory tests to reveal airflow efficiency, your pediatrician can help you and your child develop an asthma action plan. Action plans should be followed closely and updated as the child matures and as the environment changes. Many pediatricians also test for allergies to help understand and treat asthma triggers.
Asthma action plans often include:
- Rescue inhalers, medications thatopen airways quickly to provide symptom relief
- Inhaled corticosteroids to manage chronic inflammation
- Injections of biologics for severe asthma
- Oral leukotriene inhibitors (leukotrienes are blood cells that can become elevated when patients have allergies along with their asthma)
Kids should avoid extreme colds, fragrances, dusty environments, and other common asthma triggers. Good hydration, a healthy diet, regular sleep habits, and an annual flu shot are also musts.
Asthma Management for Children in Purchase, NY
At Westchester Park Pediatrics, our board-certified physicians understand the seriousness of asthma. They help both parents and kids understand its symptoms and how to treat it. If you suspect your youngster is exhibiting signs of asthma, don’t delay. With proper care, this respiratory problem can be managed, so your child breathes normally and feels great.
To schedule an appointment, call us today at (914) 761-1717 or use our convenient online form.