The soul is healed by being with children. - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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What is allergic asthma?

Paediatric asthma is a chronic disorder that affects children and causes inflammation of the lungs and airways. This causes an obstruction of airflow and can lead to a number of symptoms, including coughing, wheezing and difficulty in breathing. If asthma is not managed properly, the child could suffer from dangerous asthma attacks.

Possible Causes:

The immune system responds to certain triggers and causes the lungs and airways to swell and produce mucus. The child may cough or have difficulty with breathing.

Triggers for a flare up of asthma vary from child to child and can include:

  • Viral infections such as the common cold.
  • Air pollutants, such as tobacco smoke.
  • Allergies to dust mites, pet dander, pollen or mould.
  • Physical activity.
  • Weather changes or cold temperatures.

Sometimes, asthma symptoms flare up even without any apparent triggers.

Risk Factors:

While the exact causes of childhood asthma are not known, risk factors that increase the chances of a child getting it have been observed.

  • An environment of high pollution or exposure to tobacco smoke, even before birth.
  • History of allergies, such as food allergies or hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
  • A family history of asthma or allergies.
  • Obesity.
  • Respiratory conditions, such as a chronic runny or stuffy nose (rhinitis), sinusitis or pneumonia.
  • Heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD).

Signs & Symptoms:

Childhood asthma signs and symptoms vary from child to child. Some symptoms you should look out for are:

  • Frequent coughing spells while playing or at night, or while laughing or crying.
  • A chronic cough.
  • Low energy and rapid breathing.
  • Chest pain or tightness, and tightened neck and chest muscles.
  • Wheezing sound while breathing, laboured breathing, shortness of breath or loss of breath.
  • Weakness or tiredness.

Diagnosis:

At Medcare, a paediatrician will observe your child’s symptoms, frequency of asthma flare-ups and possible triggers to arrive at a diagnosis. Sometimes a confirmed diagnosis is difficult as the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. For children over 5 years of age, the doctor may prescribe a lung function test by spirometry, or an exhaled nitric oxide test.

If the asthma appears to be linked to allergies, the doctor may suggest an allergy skin test, which helps to pinpoint the substances your child is allergic to.

Treatment Options:

At the Paediatric Department at Medcare, you can get the best possible treatment for your child’s asthma.

A treatment plan for asthma includes controlling an asthma attack when it happens, and preventing future attacks. During an asthma attack, quick-relief medications or rescue medications are given to open airways.

For long term control of asthma, the doctor may prescribe medications that need to be taken over some weeks or months. It is very important to follow the long term treatment course prescribed carefully. Many of the medications for asthma are given through inhalers.

If the cause has been identified as allergies, then allergy medications or immunotherapy injections may be prescribed.

FAQs: الأسئلة الشائعة:
  • Will my child’s asthma disappear as he grows older?

    A: Some children’s asthma disappears later in life, while others’ doesn’t. So it’s quite difficult to predict. Children with severe asthma are more likely to have the condition even when they grow older. If it is caused by allergies, then the presence of the allergens may trigger the asthma anytime.

  • Can my baby be allergic to food items? What care should I take?

    A: If there is a history of allergies among family members, or your baby has symptoms of allergies, then you should be careful when giving any new foods to your baby. Foods that are known to cause allergies include:

    • Peanuts and food that contains peanuts, such as peanut butter
    • Dairy products
    • Fish and shellfish
    • Eggs
    • Wheat products
    • Products containing soy
  • Physical exercise sometimes triggers my child’s asthma. Can she still exercise?

    A: In some people, asthma symptoms flare up after exercise. But with proper guidance and treatment, they should still be able to exercise. Research has found that exercise is safe for asthma patients, improves heart and lung fitness, and enhances quality of life. When exercising, it is better for your child to breathe through the nose and not the mouth. Also, see that she does not over-exert herself. Swimming, yoga, cycling and walking are the best exercises for children with asthma.

  • My child has been asked to take steroid through an inhaler for her asthma. Are there any side effects that I should worry about?

    A: Inhaled steroids for asthma treatment are quite safe and you should not worry. In rare cases, these may cause a mouth or throat infection. Rinsing the mouth after using the inhaler, and using a spacer device with metered dose inhalers can prevent these side effects

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