Bronchial asthma is a chronic disease that is increasingly diagnosed in children. According to statistics, up to 10% of children worldwide suffer from this disease. Doctors distinguish two types of illness – atopic asthma (which is based on allergies) and non-atopic (caused by infections or other factors). In children, as a rule, it is the first type of asthma that develops – against the background of constant allergic attacks, there are serious problems with bronchi. How to recognize the signs of this disease and whether it is possible to protect a child from it .
Causes of Asthma: Why Breathing Changes
The World Health Organization calls allergy a pandemic of the 21st century. Most disturbing is the fact that the disease is increasingly diagnosed in children. Since its symptoms are often associated specifically with the respiratory system (cough, swelling of the mucous membranes, runny nose, etc.), in the background of an attack, a child may develop various complications.
The situation is complicated by the fact that in children the airways are much narrower than in adults, the mucous membrane is thinner and easily damaged. At the same time, bronchial hyperreactivity is often observed – they are easily irritated when exposed to allergens or infections. All this creates conditions for the development of obstruction – airway obstruction. As a result, children’s allergies can result in serious breathing problems. If seizures occur often enough, asthma can develop against their background.
Spasm of the bronchi occurs under the influence of such allergens:
- Traffic fumes.
- Animal hair and bird feathers.
- Plant pollen, poplar fluff.
- Household chemicals, cleaning products, washing powder.
- Strong smells – perfumes, essential oils.
In addition, allergies in children with characteristic respiratory symptoms can also manifest themselves on food. Most often the reaction develops on nuts, milk, chocolate, citrus fruits, seafood, honey. During an exacerbation of the disease, allergists additionally recommend to exclude from the diet bright vegetables, fruits and berries – tomatoes, bell peppers, cherries, cherries, peaches and more.
Risk factors: allergies in children
Not every allergy in childhood can lead to bronchial asthma. Doctors identify the following risk factors that parents should pay attention to:
- Heredity. The development of allergies to asthma attacks is more common if relatives have this diagnosis. The risk increases 2.5 times if one of the parents is sick with asthma, and 6.6 times if both are sick.
- Floor. According to statistics, boys get sick more often.
- Obesity. Excess weight has a direct effect on breathing – in obese children, the diaphragm is located above the norm, and this affects the functioning of the lungs, causing shortness of breath and so on.
- Smoking a mother during pregnancy (can provoke allergies in children under 1 year) and smoking parents with a child, even on the street.
- The manifestation of other types of allergies. For example, the risk increases if the child suffers from atopic dermatitis.
- Frequent acute respiratory infections. Such diseases are especially dangerous if they occur with complications – bronchitis, pneumonia and other things.
Allergy and asthma symptoms in children
The symptoms of asthma are easily confused with a viral infection (ARVI). Sometimes parents do not know about a serious diagnosis, while bronchial obstruction will not lead to serious problems with breathing. Therefore, it is important to carefully monitor what kind of cough torments the child. Asthma has the following symptoms:
- Cough dry.
- Coughing attacks are more common at night, in the morning, after naps.
- Attacks begin on contact with specific allergens — animal dander, household chemicals, the smell of laundry detergent, and more.
- Shortness of breath and wheezing, it is noticeable that the child is hard to breathe.
- The attacks pass without fever, which is characteristic of acute infectious diseases of the respiratory tract.
- Against the background of cough, a runny nose with clear discharge can be observed, but more often – nasal congestion.
Also before an asthmatic attack, precursors are often observed. In the period from several hours to 2 days before the onset of dry cough, children become more capricious, over-excited, sleep and eat poorly.
It is very important to pay attention to how the child breathes in a normal environment. With allergies, coughing and stuffy nose, breathing in and out can be difficult, but this is not a definite sign of asthma. If, after an attack, breathing returns to normal, it is most likely that this is not a serious illness. For asthmatics characteristic:
- The increase in the frequency of breaths (more than 20 per minute).
- Wheezing and whistling when breathing in and out, caused by the fact that the child is hard to take a full breath.
- Muscular activity when breathing. A child can lift his shoulders while inhaling, spinning to take the most comfortable position for a full breath.
- Fatigue during physical activity, shortness of breath.
- If you suspect asthma, you need to contact a pulmonologist and an allergist.
Preventing Asthma in Children
Today, there are several methods of treating asthma, including a fairly effective allergen-specific immunotherapy, during which the body “learns” to the allergen and does not react to it afterwards. But still for children prone to this disease, prevention is most important . Moreover, if there are asthmatics in the family, you should pay attention to this from the first days of the child’s life. Pediatricians note that the risk of developing allergies in children is reduced if:
- The baby is breastfed. The World Health Organization recommends breast milk as the only food for children in the first 6 months. After breastfeeding on the background of complementary foods lasts at least 1 year.
- In the apartment and on walks with the child do not smoke.
- In the baby’s room at least things that collect dust – carpets, blackout curtains, tapestries and more. In the first 6-12 months of life, you can abandon soft toys, and subsequently regularly wash them.
- Things are erased only with hypoallergenic baby powder, and then rinsed thoroughly.
- The room is often ventilated. An exception may be the period of flowering of various plants – if the child is allergic to pollen, it is best to air the room immediately after the rain.
- Daily wet cleaning. Without the use of household chemicals.
- The room uses humidifiers and air purifiers. In this case, the humidity should not exceed 60-70%, otherwise mold may appear.
- The child spends a lot of time in the fresh air. The exception, as with airing – the period of flowering plants that are allergic.