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Is Your Child at Risk of Asthma?

December 29, 2010

Is Your Child at Risk of Asthma?

Asthma is a common condition in which the airways narrow and become inflamed and swollen, producing extra mucus. The illness can trigger coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing, and make breathing difficult.

Childhood asthma is just the same disease adults get; however, it affects little humans differently. A child’s airways and lungs can more easily get inflamed when they are exposed to things such as a cold virus or pollen.

This chronic disease is the leading cause of missed school days, hospitalisations, and emergency department visits – around 1 in 11 British kids have asthma. Although asthma is not curable, when well-managed, a child should be able to lead an active, healthy life.

What puts a child at risk for developing asthma?

The reasons some children develop asthma isn’t fully understood; however, risk factors include:

  1. Family history
    Studies have found that a large part of someone’s risk of developing asthma is genetic in nature. Children whose parents, sisters or brothers have this illness are 3 to 6 times more likely to develop it than those who don’t have a close relative with the disease. If both father and mother have asthma, then the risk is much higher compared to when only one parent has the illness.
  2. Allergies
    Children with allergic conditions like eczema (atopic dermatitis) or hay fever (allergic rhinitis) are at higher risk of developing this illness. Furthermore, some findings indicate that kids with atopic dermatitis or eczema may have more persistent and severe asthma as adults.
  3. Viral respiratory infections
    A child who experiences viral respiratory infections can develop chronic asthma, while respiratory issues during childhood and infancy can cause wheezing.
  4. Obesity
    Children who are obese or overweight are at a greater risk of developing the illness. Obese asthmatics often use more medications, have uncontrolled asthma, and suffer worse symptoms than asthmatics in a healthy weight range.
  5. Air pollution
    Children who are exposed to a lot of air pollution, especially those children who live in urban areas, are more at risk of developing asthma.

Indoor air pollution like noxious fumes from paints and household cleaners, mold, and cigarette smoke can cause asthma and allergic reactions.

  1. Gender
    Childhood asthma typically occurs more often in boys than girls. Although the reasons are still unclear, most experts find baby boys’ airway size smaller than those of baby girls, which may lead to an enhanced risk of wheezing, maybe after a cold or any other viral infection. From the age of around twenty, the asthma ratio between women and men is almost the same.

Common symptoms

Childhood asthma symptoms and signs include:

• A wheezing or whistling sound when the child is breathing in and out
• Frequent coughing, which worsens when the little one has a viral infection. It is often triggered by cold air or exercise but can also occur when your kid is sleeping
• Chest tightness or congestion
• Loss of breath, shortness of breath
• Less energy
• A chronic cough
• Feeling tired and weak
• Tightened chest and neck muscles

It might also cause:

• Bronchitis or delayed recovery after any respiratory infection
• Wheezing or bouts of cough, which get worse with the flu or a cold
• Trouble sleeping because of wheezing, coughing, or shortness of breath

Childhood asthma symptoms and signs vary and might get better or worse over time. Sometimes a child might even have only one symptom or indication like chest congestion or a lingering cough.

Keep in mind that long-lasting or periodic wheezing and any other asthma-like symptom can be caused by other respiratory issues or infectious bronchitis.

What is asthma treatment in children?

Asthma treatment must be well-tailored to every child. Removing things that trigger asthma symptoms from your child’s environment is a good general rule. Reducing household mold, dust mites, cockroach debris, and animal dander can be extremely helpful, especially in your kid’s bedroom. You can also try one or more medications, typically in the form of inhalers, which are available to manage asthma symptoms.

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