What Is An Asthma Attack And What Should You Do If Someone Is Having One
“An asthma attack is typically when a patient is experiencing symptoms of asthma difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, wheezing and coughing that may not be responsive to the usual rescue inhaler. First of all, make sure you sit the person down. Call for help. If they have not used their inhaler, find it for them and have them use it right away,” Kaza said. “Early intervention can be the difference between life and death.”
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Its Difficult To Say For Sure Why People Get Asthma But Thanks To Research Were Clear About Some Of The Risk Factors That Make Asthma More Likely
What causes asthma is different to what triggers asthma:
- The causes are the underlying reasons why someone gets asthma in the first place.
- Triggers are things like dust mites or pollen that can make asthma symptoms worse.
Here we look at what causes asthma, and where its possible for you to lower the risk. The good news is that some of these risk factors are things you can do something about.
What Is The Best Way To Live With Asthma
The key to good living with asthma is developing a strong partnership between patients, caregivers, and physicians. Practical steps include the following:
Make an asthma care management plan with your physician. An asthma management plan helps you understand what to do when specific situations arise. Each time you visit the physician, talk about your plan, and make any necessary changes.
Educate yourself. Stay informed about the latest developments in asthma and allergy care and treatment. Ask your physician about new medications or research findings that may relate to your care.
Get regular medical care. If you have asthma, you should see your physician at least once a year, even if your symptoms are under control. When you become sick, or if you have significant changes in your health, you should also talk with your physician about how your asthma could be affected.
Take your medicine. Your asthma medications will make you feel better and sometimes people think thats the time to stop. Its not! Use your medications as prescribed.
With good management, asthma symptoms can be controlled. Most people who develop adult onset asthma are able to lead normal lives. Expect success!
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Why Are More People Getting Asthma And Allergies
Some researchers put the increase in asthma and other allergic conditions over the last few decades down to the fact that we live in much cleaner, more urban conditions. This means we have less contact with the friendly bacteria that thrive in more rural, natural environments.
Along with fewer childhood infections, this has resulted in lowered immunity, and more chance of allergies, including asthma.
The ‘hygiene hypothesis’
The idea that were missing out on exposure to useful microbes early in life began to be considered a while back with a theory known as the hygiene hypothesis. This was based on evidence that children growing up in large families, in unhygienic homes, had fewer allergies, including asthma.
More recent research suggests babies exposed to friendly bacteria in the first few months of their lives are thought to have less risk of developing asthma and allergies.
This is why some studies show that children growing up on farms have fewer allergies, and other studies show that having a dog in the house when your baby is very small can protect them from allergies and asthma. The studies are based on exposure to friendly microbes in babies less than two or three months old.
But being around animals, or being in a natural environment, may not necessarily protect your child against asthma other factors need to be taken into account, such as if theres a family history of allergy and asthma.
How Is Asthma Treated
There’s no cure for asthma, but it can be managed to prevent flare-ups. Asthma treatment involves two important things: avoiding triggers and taking medicine.
There are many ways to avoid triggers. After your child’s triggers are identified, the doctor will work with you to come up with a plan to avoid them.
For example, if pet dander or mold in your home trigger your child’s asthma symptoms, you can make your home asthma-safe by changing the linens often, vacuuming regularly, and keeping the family pet out of your child’s bedroom. If outdoor allergies are a problem, your child should avoid the outdoors on days when pollen counts are high.
If exercise is a trigger, the doctor may prescribe a medicine for your child to take before physical activity to prevent airways from tightening up. Doctors help people with exercise-induced asthma manage physical activity, not avoid it. Exercise can help people stay healthier overall .
Getting a yearly flu shot is also important, as illnesses like the flu can trigger asthma flare-ups.
Most asthma medicines are breathed directly into the lungs , but some are pills or liquids. There are two types of asthma medicines:
Quick-relief medicines act fast to open up tight airways. They can be used as needed during a flare-up. Quick-relief medicines act fast, but their effect doesn’t last long. These kinds of medicines are also called “fast-acting” or “rescue” medicines.
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What Can I Do To Manage My Childs Asthma
When a baby or toddler has a chronic illness, parents can feel stressed to their limits. Here are some coping tips:
- Learn the warning signs for increasing asthma in infants and toddlers. Know your childs particular asthma symptom pattern.
- Develop an asthma care plan with your childs doctor. Make sure the plan has a course of action to follow if asthma symptoms get worse. Understand when your child needs emergency care.
- Follow your child’s Asthma Action Plan every day! Dont change the plan until you consult your health care provider. Even if your childs symptoms are gone, stick with the plan until you discuss changes with the doctor.
- Teach your toddler or preschooler to tell you when they are not feeling well.
- Work out an emergency plan of action to follow if your child has a serious asthma episode. What hospital will you use? Who will take care of your other children? How does your medical coverage provide for emergency care?
Uw Enrolling Expectant Mothers Families For Childhood Asthma And Food Allergies Studies
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health are recruiting expectant mothers and families to join two new studies designed to help experts better understand the causes of two of the most common chronic diseases in children: childhood asthma and childhood food allergies.
Both studies are funded by the National Institutes of Health and led by researchers in the UW Department of Pediatrics division of allergy, immunology, and rheumatology. Both are birth cohort studies, which are research studies that follow a group of people born around the same time.
Food allergies are on the rise and now affect 5-10% of children, usually beginning in the first year of life. The second study, called Systems biology of early allergy or SUNBEAM, is the first birth cohort study specifically designed to investigate what causes food allergies in children. Researchers are recruiting pregnant mothers, their infants and their infants biological father to identify potential causes of food allergies and eczema. The goal of the study is to better understand the origins of food allergy to help improve prevention and treatments. UW researchers are looking to enroll 240 families in the SUNBEAM study, which will include up to 2500 children nationally.
The studies investigators include Anne Marie Singh, MD, associate professor James Gern, MD, professor and Dan Jackson, MD, professor, UW School of Medicine and Public Health Department of Pediatrics.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma In Older Children
Symptoms of asthma in children who are 6 years of age or older can range from a nagging cough that lingers for days or weeks to sudden and scary breathing emergencies. Common symptoms include:
- Coughing, especially at night
- A wheezing or whistling sound, especially when breathing out
- Trouble breathing or fast breathing that causes the skin around the ribs or neck to pull in tightly. Children with asthma may describe this like it feels like something is squeezing or sitting on their chest
- A lack of energy or feeling weak or tired
- Frequent colds that settle in the chest
What Causes Lung Cancer
- Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, many of which have been identified as causing cancer.
- A person who smokes more than one pack of cigarettes per day has a 20-25 times greater risk of developing lung cancer than someone who has never smoked.
- Once a person quits smoking, his or her risk for lung cancer gradually decreases. About 15 years after quitting, the risk for lung cancer decreases to the level of someone who never smoked.
- Cigar and pipe smoking increases the risk of lung cancer but not as much as smoking cigarettes.
About 90% of lung cancers arise due to tobacco use. The risk of developing lung cancer is related to the following factors:
- The number of cigarettes smoked
- The age at which a person started smoking
- How long a person has smoked
Other causes of lung cancer, including causes of lung cancer in nonsmokers, include the following:
Another cancer known as mesothelioma is also strongly associated with exposure to asbestos.
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Triggers For Asthma In Children
Asthma triggers are substances, conditions or activities that lead to asthma symptoms. These include :
- wheezing whistling noise when breathing
- coughing .
Your child may have all of these symptoms or just a few. Symptoms are often worse at night, in the early morning, during exercise or due to other triggers.
Are You Born With Asthma
Asthma results from a breathing condition caused by swollen airways that constrict the passage of air. Common symptoms include dry cough, shortness of breath, and wheezing. Its a common childhood condition, affecting over eight percent of children in the United States.
However, people of all ages develop asthma. Childhood asthma may disappear for good in adolescence for some people, while it reemerges for others. Asthma can be controlled, but it cant be cured, so visiting an asthma specialist like Alpha Internal Medicine is your best choice for limiting the effects of the disease on your life.
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What Triggers An Asthma Attack
The most common trigger for an acute attack of asthma is a viral infection such as a cold. Asthma can also be triggered by an allergic reaction to a common substance in the air, such as dust, house dust mites, pollen, animal dander and cigarette smoke.
Other triggers for asthma include exercise, cold air, certain drugs and changes in the air environment . Asthma attacks can sometimes be prevented by removing the trigger.
Triggers differ between individuals. Some triggers can be avoided, but you will need to plan how to reduce the effect of others.
The Impact Of Asthma On Daily Life
Asthma is often under-diagnosed and under-treated, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
People with under-treated asthma can suffer sleep disturbance, tiredness during the day, and poor concentration. Asthma sufferers and their families may miss school and work, with financial impact on the family and wider community. If symptoms are severe, people with asthma may need to receive emergency health care and they may be admitted to hospital for treatment and monitoring. In the most severe cases, asthma can lead to death.
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Side Effects Of Asthma Medication
If you are worried about possible side effects from asthma medication, speak to your doctor. Do not stop or reduce doses of medication for your child without speaking with your doctor. Common side effects from inhaled asthma medication:
- sore mouth and throat
- fungal throat infections.
Using a spacer reduces the risk of these side effects. as does rinsing the mouth with water after using an inhaler.
- fast heart beat.
What Other Steps Can I Take If My Child Has Asthma Symptoms
Children can develop asthma symptoms for a variety of reasons viruses, allergens and irritants are some of the causes. Sometimes the time of year, such as during the September asthma peak, can cause a child to develop symptoms of asthma. Here are some suggestions on what you can do:
- Address allergens and irritants that set off symptoms and find ways to reduce exposures that touch off asthma flares. Uncertain about triggers? See an allergist for testing.
- Review inhaler technique with your child. Ask about using a valved holding chamber a handheld device that attaches to the inhaler and captures and directs the medication to the airways.
- Make sure your child stays on medication schedule throughout the year, even when there are no symptoms. This may include taking daily asthma anti-inflammatory medications as prescribed. Note the expiration dates of medications and refill prescriptions as necessary.
- Involve children in the conversation, helping them understand when, why and how to take medications and other ways to keep asthma under control.
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How Is Asthma Diagnosed
To diagnose asthma, doctors will ask questions about a child’s health, problems with breathing, and family medical history. They’ll also ask about any allergies, illnesses, and exposure to things that may make breathing worse.
Kids will have a physical exam and may have a lung function test. This usually involves testing breathing with a spirometer, a machine that analyzes airflow through the airways.
Parental And Personal Smoking
In utero maternal smoking and parental smoking in early life has been shown to be temporally associated with increased asthma in young children . Recent evidence from multi-generational studies suggest that grandmaternal smoking while the mother is in utero and paternal smoking during his adolescence can independently increase the risk of subsequent offspring childhood asthma. These findings suggest that tobacco smoking may cause heritable modifications of the epigenome, which increase the risk of asthma in future generations .
Smoking also seems to interact with sex. Female smokers had a higher prevalence of asthma than female non-smokers, but this difference was less frequent for males, suggesting that females may be more susceptible. Many studies have found that personal smoking predisposes an individual to increased risk of incident or new-onset asthma, although smoking-onset in adolescence, or adulthood typically occurs after early-onset asthma . As non-atopic asthma becomes increasingly common compared with atopic asthma in adults, this is most likely because this phenotype frequently coincides with a substantial history of cigarette smoking and its potential to predispose to chronic airflow limitation . Smokers with asthma form a distinct group that are more likely to have suboptimal asthma control and develop asthma-COPD overlap syndrome in later life, characterized by incompletely reversed airflow obstruction following an inhaled bronchodilator .
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What Are The Symptoms
Asthma can be different for everyone. Asthma symptoms can also vary over time, with few or no symptoms when asthma is well controlled. The common signs and symptoms of poorly controlled asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping because of breathing difficulty
- Being unable to take part in physical activities without breathing difficulty
These symptoms can occur slowly over hours or days, or they can come on as sudden, recurring attacks after which the symptoms can persist for some time before disappearing. If left untreated, asthma can cause permanent structural changes in your airways called airway remodelling, which is why it is important to get your asthma under control and keep treating it over the long term.
Side Effects Of Steroid Tablets
Oral steroids carry a risk if they are taken for more than three months or if they are taken frequently . Side effects can include:
- easy bruising
- muscle weakness
With the exception of increased appetite, which is very commonly experienced by people taking oral steroids, most of these unwanted effects are uncommon.
However, it is a good idea to keep an eye out for them regularly, especially side effects that are not immediately obvious, such as high blood pressure, thinning of the bones, diabetes and glaucoma.
You will need regular appointments to check for these.
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How Should I Manage My Child’s Asthma
A key part of managing asthma is working with your doctor to develop an individualised written asthma action plan for your child. The plan helps you to recognise what triggers your child’s asthma, when and how to take medication, and knowing what to do if symptoms get worse.
It is also important to understand what may be causing your child’s asthma so you can reduce or remove triggers in the home.
Ask your doctor about aids and tips that will help you care for your child at home. You can talk about when and how to use medications and what devices you will need, such as inhalers and spacers, to help deliver the medication to your child’s airways.
It can also help to keep a diary to record when an asthma medication is given and when symptoms appear.