Parents with children who have asthma face unique challenges as they strive to provide a safe and healthy environment for their little ones. They not only witness their children struggling to breathe during asthma attacks but also constantly monitor potential triggers that may worsen their condition.

Pediatric asthma is a condition in which a child’s airways become swollen and narrow, making it difficult for children to breathe properly. It is a chronic lung condition that affects a significant number of children worldwide.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), asthma affected an estimated 262 million people in 2019 and caused 455,000 deaths. Children who are suffering from asthma are usually exposed to triggers like pollen, dust, or cold air, and that makes their airways become even more inflamed, causing symptoms like wheezing, coughing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

These symptoms in children can vary in severity, from mild to severe, and can affect a child’s daily activities and sleep. With proper management, including medications and avoiding triggers, children with asthma can lead normal and active lives.

What causes asthma in children?

Dr Poonam Sidana, Director Neonatology and Pediatrics at C K Birla Hospital, Delhi told, “A child can suffer from different kinds of allergies like outside exposure to dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mould, and cockroach droppings, which can cause harm to children who are sensitive. These allergens can be threatening and can increase symptoms asthma well. Children exposed to these allergens are at the risk of developing asthma.”

She further explained that if a child is suffering from respiratory infections, it can lead to asthma episodes in children, including the common cold, the flu, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). “These can make asthma symptom aggravate by inflaming the airways and making them more hyperresponsive.”

Moreover, children exposed to tobacco smoke, both during pregnancy and after birth, have a higher chance of getting asthma. Air pollution can also cause asthma in children, including particulate matter, industrial pollutants, and automobile emissions. Poor air quality can also inflame the airways and trigger asthma symptoms, Dr Sidana says.

Dr Sidana also shared that statistics suggest that around 1 in 10 children have asthma. “The most frequent kind of asthma management for kids is inhalation therapy using nebuliser or spacer is very safe and quick acting. It delivers smaller doses as compared to oral medicine and fewer side effects. It is regarded as the gold standard for asthma care. This treatment includes inhaling medicine into the child’s lungs, which can quickly and effectively relieve the symptoms of asthma. The two common drugs that are used in inhalers are Corticosteroids and bronchodilators. In an emergency, such as an asthma attack, bronchodilators are typically utilised because they offer immediate relief,” she informed.

She suggests that it is essential to create an asthma-friendly environment by keeping indoor spaces clean, dust-free, and well-ventilated. “Mosquito repellents are also an important trigger. Avoid carpets, soft toys, wall hanging etc. which can gather dust and mould. Avoid dry dusting, use a vacuum cleaner or wet mopping. She further recommends parents to make appointments with your child’s doctor on a frequent basis to monitor lung function. This makes it possible to identify any change in the symptoms of asthma early and to manage the condition appropriately to avoid exacerbations,” she added.

Here are ways to prevent asthma in your child, according to the expert:

pediatric asthma The most frequent kind of asthma management for kids is inhalation therapy using nebuliser or spacer is very safe and quick acting. (Source: Freepik)

  • Limit your exposures that trigger asthma attacks.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke around you during pregnancy and after birth.
  • You should encourage your child to play or engage in activities which help your child’s lungs work effectively.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle for your child
  • Vaccination is the key, make sure that your child is getting appropriate vaccination shots.
    You should regulate your child’s asthma, to keep it under control.

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