Asthma in a child: what you need to know?

Bronchial asthma is far from always suffocation and a dry cough. For example, in children under 5 years old it is more reminiscent of acute respiratory viral infections, with swelling of the bronchial mucosa and copious sputum output.

There are many other differences that prove that an illness in childhood needs to be given maximum attention, noticing any “disturbing bells” of the body.

Asthma in a child: what you need to know?

The disease has an allergic nature, it is based on the inflammatory process in the respiratory tract, as well as bronchial hyperreactivity in relation to external stimuli. The patient periodically experiences episodes of bronchial obstruction (partially or completely reversible) with coughing attacks, wheezing, wheezing.

In children, especially young children, it is more difficult to detect asthma: small patients often cannot describe the state of discomfort, moreover, moderate. In addition, under the age of 5 years, bronchi in children have a narrower lumen and a less developed muscle system, as a result of which asthma manifests in them as a common catarrhal disease (with an abundant release of sputum instead of a dry cough). It happens that not only the parents themselves, but also qualified doctors are mistaken with the diagnosis, believing that the child has just caught a cold.

Today in the world up to 10% of children suffer from bronchial asthma. In half of the small patients, the disease first manifests itself by the age of 2 years, in the second half by the age of 6 years.

Most often we are talking about atopic asthma . It is caused by an allergy, which is why the bronchi subsequently narrow. The cause of the attacks may be inhaled allergens:

  • Dust
  • Pet hair
  • Plant pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Food allergens

Bronchial asthma in children: who is sick more often?

Experts still cannot find out the cause of bronchial asthma. It also remains a mystery why there are more asthmatics in some regions than in others, although their environmental conditions seem to be similar. On the other hand, there are risk factors, among them:

Hereditary predisposition . The risk of asthma in a child increases 2.6 times if the mother suffered (suffers) from the same disease, and 2.5 times if the father was sick (ill). If bronchial asthma is in both parents, the probability increases to 6.6 times.

Diathesis (atopic dermatitis), a child suffered earlier or other allergic diseases – all this can develop into asthma over the years.

Maternal smoking during pregnancy increases the likelihood of a baby getting the disease by an average of 25%. The prognosis becomes even worse if adults smoke next to the baby shortly after birth. In such a child, bronchial asthma may appear as early as a month after birth.

Adverse environmental conditions . The state of the environment, especially in big cities, has long left much to be desired, but living near large enterprises, where the air is dusty even more, is several times more dangerous.

Frequent colds. Especially if they give complications to the bronchi.

Symptoms of bronchial asthma in children

An attack of bronchial asthma can begin with a cough. Along the way, a runny nose and hives are often present. Before, the child’s calm breathing becomes intermittent: a short breath and a difficult exhalation — all this can be accompanied by whistling and wheezing. From the side it seems as if the child is frantically “catching” the air with his mouth. The baby’s lips turn blue and the skin begins to turn pale.

A feature of asthma in young children is a nocturnal cough. He is considered the equivalent of an attack of bronchial asthma.

Signs of asthma in children: what should parents do?

If you see that the child begins an attack, in no case do not panic. Try to distract his attention, say, give him your favorite toy, talk about something else and so on. Your task is to prevent the baby from being scared, because panic will only aggravate the problem and prevent the attack.

Sit the child on a chair, bending forward so that the elbows rest on his knees, open the window so that there is an influx of fresh air in the room and use an inhaler. After that, you can prepare hot baths for the feet and hands of the baby. If after all these manipulations the attack does not go away, call an ambulance.

Signs of asthma in a child: what should not be done categorically

Unreasonable actions of parents during an attack can sometimes do more harm than the disease itself, so it’s not out of place to mention what to do during an attack in no case. So, a child during an attack of bronchial asthma is forbidden to give:

  • Antibiotics . In asthma, this is the most useless of all possible medicines. Antibiotics are allowed only in one case – if the child has a complication in the form of pneumonia, and then, only as directed by the doctor.
  • Expectorants (for example, for the treatment of cough). All of them only stimulate the appearance of mucus in the respiratory tract, which with asthma is already more than enough.
  • Sedatives (sedatives). Any such medicine will only reduce the depth of breathing, which is fatal during an asthma attack.

Diagnosis of bronchial asthma in children

When contacting a specialist, the examination of the patient, as well as the collection of data from the medical history, are of the greatest importance. Asthma in young children is not always determined in a timely manner. Mom or the child himself may be asked to answer a number of questions, for example:

Did any of the following happen to the child in the last year?

  • Sudden coughing attacks, especially with wheezing and shortness of breath
  • Frequent obstructive syndrome with SARS
  • Wheezing wheezing that appears systematically at certain times of the year

Also, methods of differential diagnosis cannot be excluded (a method for excluding other diseases). Wheezing in a child can be triggered by a number of other diseases:

  • Congenital malformations (immunodeficiency, cystic fibrosis, congenital heart disease)
  • Chronic rhinosinusitis
  • Tuberculosis
  • Mechanical problems (foreign body aspiration)
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux

Treatment of bronchial asthma in children

Although the nature of the disease has not yet been elucidated, methods for its treatment are more than enough. All of them are designed to reduce the number of seizures (or rather, reduce them to “no”), as well as to avoid provocative factors to the maximum.

As for the medicinal effect, in addition to inhalers, it is necessary to use drugs that improve the condition of the bronchi during the period of remission. They are prescribed individually by the attending physician and are taken clearly according to the scheme.

Children with bronchial asthma are often prescribed therapeutic exercises and spa treatment.

Some doctors offer parents a course of allergen-specific immunotherapy (ASIT), especially if it is impossible to eliminate the irritant that causes the attacks. The essence of the method is to “accustom” the body to an allergen. The child is injected with a part of the substance that provokes asthma, gradually increasing the dose (this is done both by injection and by other means). As a result, the immune system “gets used” to the stimulus and ceases to react to it as sharply as before.

The treatment of asthma in children in this way has its positive results: according to statistics, 75% of asthmatics who have undergone ASIT do not experience regular attacks, but international research is still ongoing.

Prevention of asthma in children

Measures for the prevention of illness in a child can be of two types:

  • Primary
  • Secondary

Primary prevention includes measures to prevent the disease, and secondary – the prevention of new attacks with an existing disease.

To prevent the occurrence of asthma in the child, parents should protect the child to the maximum from provoking factors, in no case should he smoke next to the crumb, and carefully monitor his health, avoiding complications from the usual seasonal cold.

The medications prescribed by the doctor, the correct diet , the most healthy lifestyle of the family and the calm atmosphere in the house help to reduce the frequency of seizures with an existing disease . If the child is already attending school, be sure to notify educators of possible seizures.

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