BENGALURU: Childhood diseases, especially of the chronic kind, are more common these days. Infants are now more susceptible to fevers, coughs, colds and other infections than the those 20 years ago. This may be attributed to poor diet and lifestyle habits of the parents along with poor quality of air and food.
Asthma occurs due to the narrowing of the air passages of the lungs. One of the main reasons of developing this disease is because of the substances and particles inhaled which causes irritation in the airways and triggers allergic reactions. It occurs in all countries irrespective of the country being developed. One way of managing asthma is by avoid the causes with the help of drugs and other medications to keep the asthma attacks under control.
Coughing is symptom of asthma
According to expert pediatric doctors, one ailment that has most commonly plagued children within the age group of six is wheezing cough. While this condition is usually temporary and can be cured over time, it may also be a symptom of asthma that may manifest during adult life. It is crucial for parents to be vigilant and take preventive measures early on. Asthma is a chronic disorder of the bronchial tree, characterized by complete or partial reversible airway obstruction because of inflammation. The condition may improve spontaneously or may subside after specific therapy. Asthma is typically diagnosed based on symptoms with a physical examination, and lung function tests.
Identify the type
Although it is common to talk about asthma as one disease, there are many different types of asthma like allergic asthma and non-allergic asthma,allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis, aspirin-induced asthma, adult-onset asthma, asthma with fixed airflow obstruction, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, work-related asthma, nocturnal asthma, and asthma because of obesity. The earlier the condition is detected, the easier it is to ensure preventive measures.
Difficulty of diagnosis
Diagnosis of asthma in children is difficult because of the complex nature of the disorder and multiple underlying causes with similar symptoms. Also, noisy breathing is certainly not uncommon among infants and many new parents may not recognize a wheezing condition until it becomes serious. In the past, lung function testing was not possible below the age five and posed as an added challenge. However, advanced diagnostics methods and several newer tests have enabled earlier testing and improved the chances of childhood diagnosis.
Caution can delay
While there is no certain way to prevent asthma, there are certain things that may reduce a child’s chance of developing asthma if the genetic disposition exists. Reducing exposure to known allergens, such as dust mites, may delay or prevent allergy or asthma symptoms. Eliminating mold and damp corners from the house and increasing clean airflow also helps. Exposure to tobacco smoke before and after birth increases the infant’s risk of developing wheezing and asthma. Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes increase the risk for wheezing in their newborn babies.
More germs before six months
Children who are exposed to more ‘germs’ – for example children with several older siblings, or children in day care before 6 months of age, and children living on farms – are less likely to develop allergies, and allergic-type diseases, including asthma. These children may have more
viral infections; possibly leading to more wheezing episodes when they’re small, but they may develop stronger immunity.
The following are the primary symptoms seen in children which can worsen at night
■ Trouble while breathing
■ Uncomfortable feeling in the chest
Reasons of the symptoms getting triggered are:
■ Respiratory infections such as cold
■ Dust, pollens causing allergies
■ Exercise, physical activities
■ Feeding the infants
■ Exposure towards airborne irritants or even cigarette smoke
■ Restricted breathing
■ Weather changes
■ Tobacco Smoke
■ Chemicals used in the work place that causes allergies
Emergency situation that can be life threatening and the symptoms of an asthma emergency in occurring in children aged below five is gasping for air and breathing hard causing the abdomen to be sucked under ribs.
Chief of Laboratory Services, RV Metropolis. Inputs from Dr K S Satish, Consultant Pulmonologist Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road