When To See A Gp
See a GP if you think you or your child may have asthma.
Several conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis and correct treatment.
The GP will usually be able to diagnose asthma by asking about symptoms and carrying out some simple tests.
Find out more about how asthma is diagnosed.
The Five Parts To An Asthma Treatment Plan
Step 1: Identifying and controlling asthma triggers
Children with asthma have different sets of triggers. Triggers are the factors that irritate the airways and cause asthma symptoms. Triggers can change seasonally and as a child grows older . Some common triggers are allergens, viral infections, irritants, exercise, breathing cold air, and weather changes.
Identifying triggers and symptoms can take time. Keep a record of when symptoms occur and how long they last. Once patterns are discovered, some of the triggers can be avoided through environmental control measures, which are steps to reduce exposure to a child’s allergy triggers. Talk with your doctor about starting with environmental control measures that will limit those allergens and irritants causing immediate problems for a child. Remember that allergies develop over time with continued exposure to allergens, so a child’s asthma triggers may change over time.
Others who provide care for your child, such as babysitters, day-care providers, or teachers must be informed and knowledgeable regarding your child’s asthma treatment plan. Many schools have initiated programs for their staff to be educated about asthma and recognize severe asthma symptoms.
The following are suggested environmental control measures for different allergens and irritants:
To control dust mites:
To control pollens and molds:
To control irritants:
To control animal dander:
How Is Asthma Diagnosed
Along with doing a physical examination and asking about your child’s symptoms, your doctor may order tests such as:
- Spirometry. Doctors use this test to diagnose and keep track of asthma in children age 6 and older. It measures how quickly your child can move air in and out of the lungs and how much air is moved. Spirometry is not used with babies and small children. In those cases, the doctor usually will listen for wheezing and will ask how often the child wheezes or coughs.
- Peak expiratory flow . This shows how much air your child can breathe out when trying his or her hardest.
- A chest X-ray to see if another disease is causing your child’s symptoms.
- Allergy tests, if your doctor thinks your child’s symptoms may be caused by allergies.
Your child needs routine checkups so your doctor can keep track of the asthma and decide on treatment.
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What Can I Do To Reduce Asthma Symptoms
- Learn your childs triggers.
- Allergens like dust mites, pets, pests, molds and pollen can play a role in some childrens asthma.; Discuss with your health care provider whether an evaluation by an allergist may be helpful.
- Follow your asthma management plan and give the medicines prescribed by your childs doctor.
- Avoid smoking near your child.
Using Medicine As Prescribed Can Prevent Asthma Attacks
- Inhaled corticosteroids and other control medicines can prevent asthma attacks.
- Rescue inhalers or nebulizers can give quick relief of symptoms
- But . . . about half of children who are prescribed asthma control medicines do not use them regularly.
SOURCE: National Health Interview Survey, 2013.
The Federal government is
- Working with state, territorial, private and non-government partners to support medical management, asthma-self management education, and, for people at high risk, home visits to reduce triggers and help with asthma management. ,
- Providing guidelines, tools such as asthma action plans, and educational messages to help children, their caregivers, and healthcare professionals better manage asthma.
- Promoting policies and best practices to reduce exposure to indoor and outdoor asthma triggers such as tobacco smoke and air pollution.
- Tracking asthma rates and assuring efficient and effective use of resources invested in asthma services.
Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers are
Some payers/health insurance plans are
Parents and children are
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Asthma Action Plans For Children
An;asthma;action;planis a clear written summary of;instructions for when;your childs asthma;symptoms change. Everyone with asthma should have a personalised;asthma;action;plan written by their doctor.;
Your childs;asthma;action;plan will tell you:;
- how to recognise when your childs asthma is getting worse or an attack is developing, and the steps you should take to manage it;
- symptoms that are serious, indicating a need for urgent medical help ;
- your childs asthma triggers.;
Make sure you;understand and can;follow the;asthma;action;plan from your doctor.;
Follow Your Child’s Action Plan
An asthma action plan tells you which medicines your child takes every day and how to treat asthma attacks. It may include an asthma diary where your child records peak expiratory flow and/or symptoms. You also can list the cause of the symptoms and the quick-relief medicine used for asthma symptoms. This helps you to identify triggers that can be changed or avoided and to be aware of your child’s symptoms. A plan also helps you make quick decisions about medicine and treatment.
See an example of an asthma action plan .
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How Do I Help A Child Having A Serious Asthma Attack
As soon as you see a child start to have an asthma attack, take action. Have the child sit down upright and encourage the child to breathe slowly and stay calm. Follow the school medical plan and if the child has an bronchodilator inhaler which relieves asthma symptoms quickly, give the medication. Call 9-1-1 if the attack does not respond to the medication and call their parents. Watch the child closely and don’t leave them alone.Call 9-1-1 if the child:
- Has trouble walking or talking.
- Stops playing and can’t start activity again within a few moments or after taking medication.
- Has lips or fingertips that turn grey or blue.
- Has a hard time breathing.
- Pulls their chest and/or neck in when trying to breathe.
- Is hunched over.
Other Conditions Similar To Asthma
A few conditions may seem like asthma and its complications in babies.
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Airway obstruction due to object inhalation
Some of the signs and symptoms of these conditions can be similar to asthma. A detailed evaluation by a healthcare provider is required to differentiate these diseases or conditions from infant asthma.
Although asthma is a life-long condition, this can be well-managed with a proper asthma action plan and treatments. Sticking to prescribed treatments and follow-ups can reduce the incidence of emergency visits and hospitalizations. You may also take necessary steps to avoid exposure to triggers and respiratory infections in babies.
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What Facts Should I Know About Childhood Asthma
More than 25 million Americans have asthma. Each year, many people with asthma require treatment in the emergency department with a portion requiring hospitalizations. Children younger than 18 years of age account for a large portion of emergency department visits and hospitalizations due to asthma exacerbations. The magnitude of the impacts of asthma in children is illustrated by the fact that asthma accounts for more hospitalizations in children than any other chronic illness. Moreover, asthma causes children and adolescents to miss school and causes parents to miss days at work. As might be expected, asthma also accounts for more school absences than any other chronic illness.
What Is the Medical Definition of Asthma?
Asthma is a disorder caused by inflammation in the airways that lead to the lungs. This inflammation causes airways to tighten and narrow, which blocks air from flowing freely into the lungs, making it hard to breathe. Symptoms include wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and cough, particularly at night or after exercise/activity. The inflammation may be completely or partially reversed with or without medicines.
What Is the Main Cause of Asthma?
So an asthma flare is caused by three important changes in the airways that make breathing more difficult:
- Inflammation of the airways
- Excess mucus that results in congestion and mucus “plugs” that get caught in the narrowed airways
- Narrowed airways or bronchoconstriction
Who Is Most at Risk for Asthma?
Can A Child Outgrow Asthma
Once someone gets sensitive airways, they stay that way for life. This is the case even though asthma symptoms can change over the years. As a child gets older, they may be able to handle airway inflammation and irritants better, so their symptoms may get better. About half of those children get asthma symptoms again when they are in their late 30s or early 40s. There is no way to know which children may have reduced symptoms as they get older. New triggers may set off symptoms at any time in people who have asthma. If your child has asthma, keep quick-relief medicines and their Asthma Action Plan on hand , even if symptoms dont happen often.
Medical Review September 2015.
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Wheezing And Asthma In Infants
Millions of kids under the age of 18 have asthma. Most develop symptoms by age 6; some do as young as by age 3.
Asthma is becoming more common in developed countries, though no one knows exactly why. But researchers are sure of one thing: Kids are more likely to develop asthma if theres a family history of allergies and asthma. This is especially true if a childs parents have asthma and certain allergies.
What Causes Asthma In Children
Asthma is a disease that causes breathing difficulties. A child with asthma may wheeze, cough, or often be short of breath. These problems happen because of the swelling of the airways in the lungs, which makes them narrow along with increased mucus.
Asthma is a common condition among children and teens, and it often runs in families. It can vary from mild to such severity asthma that prevents a child from doing normal daily activities.
While there is no known definite cure for pediatric asthma, with the right action plan, its possible to manage the symptoms and allow the child to live a normal life.
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Risk Factors For Asthma In Infants
Although no direct cause has been found for why some infants develop asthma and others do not, there are a few risk factors that are thought to increase the likelihood of infant asthma such as:1,2
- Having breathing problems that are triggered by certain foods or allergies
- A family history of asthma or allergies
- Observed breathing patterns in the child at nighttime vs daytime, at play and at rest, and other breathing behavior that appears abnormal
- Mothers who smoke during pregnancy
Asthma in infants can be tricky to diagnose because there are a number of reasons why a baby might be fussy, and children at that age are not able to verbalize whats going with their bodies.
Causes Of Asthma In Babies
The exact cause of asthma is still unknown. Several reasons are believed to contribute to asthma. The following factors may increase the risk of asthma in babies .
- Genetic factors may cause asthma in some babies. A positive family history of asthma, eczema, and allergies in parents, siblings, and grandparents may increase the risk of developing asthma.
- Maternal smoking in pregnancy is suggested to increase the risk. Maternal smoking may affect a babys lung development and functions, potentially increasing the risk of asthma.
- Premature babies may have increased asthma risk due to an underdeveloped immune system.
- Exposure to environmental factors, including airway irritants and air pollution, may increase the risk in some babies.
- Respiratory viral infections can trigger asthma attacks in some babies. They may have symptoms that persist beyond infection.
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What Should You Do If Your Child Has An Asthma Attack
If your child is showing symptoms of an asthma attack:
- Give your child their reliever medicine according to the asthma action plan.
- Wait 15 minutes. If the symptoms go away, your child should be able to resume whatever activity they were doing. If symptoms persist, follow the Asthma Action Plan for further therapy.
- If your child fails to improve, or if you aren’t sure what action to take, call your care provider.
The danger signs of an asthma attack are:
- Severe wheezing.
- Trouble walking and/or talking,
- Blue lips and/or fingernails.
If your child has any of these danger signs/symptoms, go to the nearest emergency department or call 911.
Get Help For Special Concerns
Special things to think about in treating asthma include:
- Managing exercise-induced asthma. Exercise often causes asthma symptoms. Steps you and your child can take to reduce the risk of this include using medicine immediately before exercising.
- Managing asthma before surgery. Children with moderate to severe asthma are at higher risk of having problems during and after surgery than children who do not have asthma. Before any surgery is done, make sure your child’s surgeon knows that your child has asthma.
- Taking care of other health problems. If your child also has other health problems, such as inflammation and infection of the sinuses or gastroesophageal reflux disease , he or she will need treatment for those conditions.
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Keep A Diary Of Your Childs Symptoms
Keep a diary of symptoms to discuss with your doctor. The diary could include:;
- a video or audio recording of the wheezing you could use your mobile phone;
- when the symptoms occur such as during the day or worse at night;
- how bad the symptoms are and how often they happen;
- how long the symptoms remain and whether they change with time;
- whether the symptoms are worse after exercise, playing or after an infection ;
- whether the symptoms are worse after exposure to animals, pollens or mould.;
Treatment Of Asthma In Children
Asthma can be treated, although it cant be fully healed. However, the right treatment will ease the symptoms and prevent attacks. When it comes to asthma treatment, there are three crucial ingredients:
Avoiding triggers After you identify your childs triggers, its important to avoid exposing your child to them. For example, if one of the triggers is dust or mold, you need to make sure your house is free of both.
Breathing exercises Breathing exercises can help the child improve their asthma control and greatly reduce symptoms of coughing, wheezing and breathlessness. Buteyko breathing exercises for asthma have shown significant results. Buteyko Clinic International breathing program is free of charge for children and available on Buyteko Children webpage.
First aid medicine Medications should only be used in the case of an asthma attack. Some of them include rescue inhalers and nebulizers, bronchodilators, or anti-inflammatories. They provide the child with quick relief and help him breathe. You can learn more about the Buteyko method here.
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Asthma Attacks And What Makes Them Worse
An asthma attack occurs when your child’s symptoms suddenly increase. While some asthma attacks occur very suddenly, many get worse over a period of several days.
Things that can lead to an asthma attack or make one worse include:
- A cold or another type of respiratory illness, especially one caused by a virus, such as influenza.
- Exercising , especially if the air is cold and dry.
- Medicines, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Most asthma attacks result from a failure to control asthma with medicines. When your child strictly follows his or her asthma action plan and takes all medicines correctly, it is possible to prevent attacks.
When To See A Doctor
If you believe your child may be showing symptoms of childhood asthma, its time to visit a doctor. The longer you wait to address their symptoms, the higher your childs risk is of having an asthma attack if they do, in fact, have asthma.
If your child has been diagnosed with asthma, you can begin a treatment protocol that will improve both the asthma symptoms and your childs quality of life.
Childhood asthma is one of the most common lung conditions worldwide. Symptoms of asthma in children may include:
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What Are The Symptoms
Symptoms of asthma can be mild or severe. When your child has asthma, he or she may:
- Wheeze, making a loud or soft whistling noise that occurs when the airways narrow.
- Cough a lot.
- Have trouble sleeping because of coughing and wheezing.
- Quickly get tired during exercise.
Many children with asthma have symptoms that are worse at night.
What Are The Symptoms Of Asthma In A Child
Symptoms can occur a bit differently in each child. Children with asthma have times when they have few, if any symptoms.;They also have times when symptoms flare up. Symptoms may include:
- Cough that is either constant or comes and goes
- Wheezing or whistling sound that is heard while your child is breathing
- Trouble breathing or shortness of breath while your child is active
- Chest tightness
- Cough at night
- Noisy breathing
The symptoms of asthma can be like other health conditions. Make sure your;child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
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What Is Childhood Asthma
If your child has asthma, their lungs and airways can easily get inflamed when they have a cold or are around things like pollen. The symptoms may make it hard for your child to do everyday activities or sleep. Sometimes, an asthma attack can result in a trip to the hospital.
Thereâs no cure for asthma in children, but you can work with your childâs doctor to treat it and prevent damage to their growing lungs.