Estimates suggest that over six million American children have asthma and more than half of them have had attacks in the past year. Asthma is the leading cause of both emergency room visits and hospital stays for children under 15-years-old. Though deaths are rare among children, asthma can be life-threatening.
With diagnosis and careful management, though, your child’s asthma doesn’t have to dominate their life. Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon, M.D., and her team are asthma specialists, able to give you the medical advice you need to keep your child happy and healthy.
It’s not fully known why some children develop asthma while others avoid it. There are genetic factors, since asthma often runs in families, and children who have allergies are more likely to also develop the respiratory condition. Exposure to cigarette smoke and other airborne pollutants can also be a factor.
When your child suffers an attack, their airways and lungs become inflamed, often in response to a trigger, like cold air or a reaction to breathing pollen. They’ll experience shortness of breath and a feeling of tightness in their chest. Their breathing may feature a wheezing or whistling sound. Frequent coughing and slow recovery after a respiratory infection are also common symptoms.
Childhood asthma usually follows predictable patterns, though sometimes it’s difficult to recognize them. Keeping a log of your child’s asthma attacks can help you pinpoint these patterns, including the identification of triggers.
Record each episode you note and the conditions at the time, as well as any medical assistance you sought. Once your child is diagnosed, include the medications and dosages along with any incidents that require rescue medications to treat sudden symptoms.
Avoiding known triggers and other airborne irritants can help reduce the frequency and intensity of asthma attacks. This might include staying inside during days with high pollen counts or smog advisories or beefing up air filtration in the home to remove dust, smoke, or pet dander.
Typically, your child will have medications for long-term control, drugs they take to prevent irritation of the airways from starting, as well as quick-relief medications that are used at the onset of an asthma attack. These medications can be taken as pills or through an inhaler. Use long-term medications regularly and in the given dosages, and make sure that your child always has access to their quick-relief inhaler.
Annual flu shots and frequent hand washing can spare your child seasonal respiratory illnesses that can complicate asthma attacks. This extends to people in the household too, as they can pass cold and flu viruses on to an asthmatic child.
As you become familiar with your child’s asthma attacks, be alert for the signs that an episode may be starting. You may be able to administer quick-relief medications soon enough to limit the most severe symptoms.
When first faced with asthma, the management process may seem complicated, but you’ll soon find a routine that’s aided by the success of your plan. Contact Dr 2 Kids, Smita Tandon, M.D. today, by phone or online, to schedule a consultation for your child.