Asthma in Children
This practice specialises in children treating children with asthma and allergy and recurring chest infections.
Asthma is typically diagnosed with a medical exam and a test that measures the airflow in and out of the lungs, this is called a lung function test. Children who are of preschool age or younger may not be able to complete the lung function test, which requires blowing very hard into a tube. And since infants and toddlers can’t describe how they feel, parents, other family members and caregivers need to be alert for symptoms.
Tell our doctors if anyone in your family has asthma or allergies, such as hay fever, hives or eczema. Both allergies and asthma run in families; if they run in yours, it’s more likely that your child will have them.
Our doctors may perform skin or blood tests to see whether your child has allergies that can trigger asthmatic symptoms. These tests can be done at any age. Our also may prescribe one or more asthma medicines. If your child gets better while taking the medicine, it can be a signal that your child’s symptoms are due to asthma. Our doctors aim to prove the diagnosis of asthma.
Most children with asthma have symptoms before they turn 5. In very young children, it may be hard for parents, and even doctors, to recognize that the symptoms are due to asthma. The bronchial tubes in infants, toddlers and preschoolers are already small and narrow, and head colds, chest colds and other illnesses can inﬂame these airways, making them even smaller and more irritated.
The symptoms of paediatric asthma 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 or with laughing, crying or with exercise
- 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
- Frequent colds that settle in the chest these are often incorrectly attributed to a post nasal drip
Your child might have only one of these symptoms, or several of them. You may think it’s just a cold or bronchitis. If the symptoms recur, that’s a clue that your child might have asthma. In addition, symptoms may worsen when your child is around asthma triggers, such as irritants in the air (smoke or strong odors, for example) or allergens like pollen, pet dander and dust mites.
Management and Treatment
Any asthma symptom, whether mild or severe, is always serious; even mild symptoms can quickly become life-threatening. Poorly controlled and undiagnosed asthma in small children can result in trips to the emergency room, hospital stays, missed workdays for parents and suffering that small children are unable to express. It’s very important that an asthmatic child receive proper treatment.
The treatment will depend on the severity and frequency of the symptoms. To deal with childhood asthma, the doctor may prescribe two types of medicines:
Quick relief: Any child who has asthma needs a quick-relief medicine to treat the noisy part of the disease — the coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath that occur with symptoms or an asthma attack. This medicine (typically an inhaler) should be with the child at all times for use at the first sign of symptoms.
Long-term control: This type of medicine is needed by some children to treat the quiet part of asthma — the inﬂammation of the airways. It is taken daily to prevent asthma symptoms and attacks.
Our doctors will educate and equip you with survival plans to enable your child to live a normal life until remission occurs or your child outgrows the condition.