What are the Dangers of Asthma in Children?
Childhood asthma isn’t different from the one that adults have, but children face unique challenges. The condition is a leading cause of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and missed school days. Signs and symptoms may vary and might get worse or better over time. Your child might have only one indication, such as a lingering cough or chest congestion.
How does It Affect a Child?
In childhood asthma, the lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers, such as inhaling pollen or catching a cold or other respiratory infection. This condition in children can cause bothersome daily symptoms that interfere with play, sports, school, and sleep. In some children, unmanaged asthma can cause dangerous attacks.
Common childhood asthma signs and symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest congestion or tightness
- A whistling or wheezing sound when breathing out
- Frequent coughing that worsens when your child has a viral infection occurs while your child is asleep or is triggered by exercise or cold air.
Childhood asthma might also cause:
- Bouts of coughing or wheezing that get worse with a cold or the flu
- Trouble sleeping due to shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing
- Trouble breathing that hampers play or exercise
- Fatigue, which can be due to poor sleep
- Delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection
There are many risk factors for developing childhood asthma. These include:
- Family history of it, allergies, and atopy (a genetic, or inherited, likelihood to develop allergies and Asthma)
- Low birth weight
- Frequent respiratory infections
- Exposure to tobacco smoke before and after birth
- Being raised in a low-income environment
In children under five years of age, the most common cause of it’s symptoms are upper respiratory viral infections, such as the common cold.
What Causes Asthma in Children?
The causes of this condition in children aren’t fully understood. Some factors thought to be involved include:
- An inherited tendency to develop allergies
- Parents with the same condition
- Some types of airway infections at a very young age
- Exposure to environmental factors, such as cigarette smoke or other air pollution
The immune system becomes more sensitive when exposed to certain triggers, and the lungs and airways swell and produce mucus. When a trigger is delayed, it is more difficult to identify it. Children can be triggered by a variety of factors, including:
- Physical activity
- Weather changes or cold air
- Viral infections such as the common cold
- Exposure to air pollutants, such as tobacco smoke
- Allergies to dust mites, pet dander, pollen, or mold
Sometimes, its symptoms occur with no apparent triggers.
What Dangers Does It Cause to Children with Asthma?
This condition can cause several complications, including:
- Missed school days or getting behind in school
- Poor sleep and fatigue
- Severe asthma attacks that require emergency treatment or hospital care
- Symptoms that interfere with play, sports, or other activities
- Permanent decline in lung function
To prevent these dangers, you may follow these ways:
- Limit exposure to its triggers.
- Don’t allow smoking around your child. Exposure to tobacco smoke during infancy is a strong risk factor for childhood asthma.
- Encourage your child to be active. As long as your child’s Asthma is well-controlled, regular physical activity can help the lungs to work more efficiently.
- Help your child maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight can worsen asthma symptoms, and it puts your child at risk of other health problems.
- Check-in regularly. Don’t ignore signs that your child’s Asthma might not be under control. It changes over time. Consulting your child’s doctor can help you make needed treatment adjustments to keep symptoms under control.
- Keep heartburn under control. Acid reflux or severe heartburn might worsen your child’s asthma symptoms. They might need over-the-counter or prescription medications to control acid reflux.
Prescription medication recommended for children:
- Beclomethasone Dipropionate – this drug belongs to a class of medications known as corticosteroids that work by decreasing the swelling of the airways in the lungs to make breathing easier.