Asthma has different symptoms and severity for people of different ages. Preparation of medicines and prevention of asthma triggers can be prepared at home to treat asthma in children. Especially in severe asthma attacks or recurrences that often occur.
Diagnosing and managing asthma in children, especially under the age of 5 is not an easy matter. Asthma in children has specifications that need to be treated differently for each age. Because, not all children have the same symptoms of asthma, and these symptoms can vary from recurrence of asthma that appears in the same child. So, it is important to recognize the detailed conditions of each child with asthma.
What Triggers Asthma?
The exact cause of asthma is unknown. However, there are several factors that are thought to increase a person’s risk of asthma. The following are some of the risk factors that can cause asthma or make asthma in children worse, including genetic or congenital birth, air pollution, chlorine in swimming pools, and premature births or born below normal weight. In addition, exposure to cigarette smoke (including when still in the womb and after birth), dust, cold air, fatigue, respiratory infections that occur repeatedly and are severe (such as pneumonia, a history of allergic skin or eczema and food allergies) also can trigger asthma. History of family members who have certain diseases (such as asthma, eczema, itching, or rhinitis), living in urban areas with increased exposure to air pollution, obesity, sinusitis, and male sex are also more at risk of developing asthma.
What Are the Signs of a Child with Asthma?
Although it is difficult to diagnose asthma in children, in infants and young children there are main symptoms that indicate your baby has asthma, wheezing (high-pitched or low-pitched voice when exhaling), shortness of breath, and coughing. The following are the symptoms of asthma that are commonly experienced:
- Cough that occurs is permanent or does not go away.
- Difficulty breathing. If your child is still a baby, you can detect difficulty breathing for Little while breastfeeding or feeding him. A baby with shortness of breath will find it difficult or unwilling to breastfeed. The skin looks blue, weak, the child looks less active are signs of respiratory distress that must be immediately taken to the doctor.
- When on the move, children appear to be underpowered, easily weak or tired, and often cough.
- Short and fast breaths.
- Neck and chest muscles become tight.
- Little is often feel tightness and discomfort in the chest.
- Repeated bronchitis can be a sign of asthma in toddlers.
Some of the symptoms mentioned above can be triggered or made worse by a number of things, such as colds or other respiratory infections; the presence of allergens (allergens) such as dust, pollen, animal dander; sports activities or activities; when giving milk / breast milk to the baby; strong emotional reactions such as crying or laughing excessively; stomach acid disease; and extreme weather changes.
In some children and certain situations, symptoms can get worse. This is marked by panting and fast breathing that makes the child talk haltingly, the child looks wheezing when breathing, the stomach falls under the ribs due to difficulty breathing, and breathing apparatus is unable to help relieve breathing difficulties . If some of these things happen, take your child immediately to the nearest hospital to get the right treatment.
How to deal with asthma in children?
Asthma is a leading cause of chronic illness in children. This disease can begin at any age, but most children experience the first symptoms at the age of 5 years.
Asthma can be controlled, but it cannot be cured. The goal of asthma treatment in children is so that children can continue to carry out normal daily activities, minimize symptoms and visits to the doctor, and find treatment methods with the right dosage and minimal side effects.
Some treatments for asthma in children, including:
Long-term asthma prevention medication.
This group of medicines serves to prevent asthma attacks and reduce existing or controlling symptoms. There are several types of this drug, namely inhaled corticosteroids for the prevention of asthma attacks. This drug is a class of drugs that are considered best for treating asthma in the long run. Many inhaled corticosteroids are recommended together with LABA classes to control asthma symptoms and prevent recurrence. Long-acting Beta Agonists (LABA) are used to open narrow airways and reduce inflammation, combined inhalers to prevent asthma attacks, and leukotriene modifiers and theophylline to facilitate breathing by relaxing muscles around the airways.
Asthma relievers fast reaction.
These drugs are usually consumed only during an asthma attack, especially in severe asthma attacks, and function as a reliever. Usually also used before sports activities, if the activity is known to be one of the triggers for an asthma attack. These medicines do react quickly to relieve asthma symptoms, but they can’t cure them. Some types of fast reaction medicines are asthma relievers or Short-Acting Beta Agonists (SABA) which affect in a matter of minutes with effects that are felt for up to several hours. Then there are oral corticosteroids and injections that have the benefit of reducing airway inflammation due to asthma attacks, and ipratropium which can make breathing easier by relaxing the respiratory tract.
In addition to the drugs consumed, there are assistive devices that are usually used to help facilitate children’s breathing. Treatment with these aids is generally given four times a day in 10-15 minutes, but the frequency depends on the doctor’s recommendation. Some of these aids such as face masks that are usually used for children under the age of four years, inhalers with a measured dose that can be used by school-age children, nebulizer which is a tool for spraying drugs in high doses into the lungs. Inhalers with dry powder are used for children over 4 years of age because they require deep breathing techniques.
Children who suffer from asthma can also experience upper respiratory tract infections. The use of antibiotics in asthma is indicated in asthma accompanied by infections such as pneumonia or ARI due to bacteria. The signs are shortness of breath accompanied by fever, yellowish or thick green phlegm color, the child has difficulty eating or drinking, and looks nervous. The use of antibiotics needs to be adjusted to the causative bacteria, according to the doctor’s examination and recommendation.
In addition, avoiding triggers, using drugs, and monitoring asthma symptoms on a daily basis are ways to control asthma in children of all ages. Children with asthma must always be kept away from the origin of asthma triggers so that asthma symptoms do not appear.
In accompanying children who have asthma, parents need to do the following:
- Recognize and record symptoms experienced by children. Also find out how badly asthma symptoms affect their daily activities.
- Detect how often asthma attacks recur.
- Recognize the triggering factors that can cause symptoms to worsen such as: cold, animal dander, dust, exercise, cigarette smoke. Remind children to stay away from triggers that can be avoided so that asthma attacks can be prevented.
- Know what needs to be done when an asthma attack occurs, as the doctor recommends.
- Understand the various types of asthma treatment and how each drug works.
- With the help of a doctor, determine the right treatment for treating pediatric asthma.
- Note whether the treatment is optimal in dealing with symptoms that arise and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks.
- Knowing the side effects of each drug, so the child is not given more than the dose.
- Knowing how well the child’s lungs work with a peak flow meter test that can be done by a doctor.
When asthma symptoms appear in your child, maybe you and those around him will feel anxious and confused about what to do, right? Therefore, to minimize the symptoms of asthma in children who will appear, there are several things you can do, including:
- Thoroughly clean your child’s home or room from pet dust and dirt.
- Do not use cleaning products or household products that might cause irritation to your child.
- Manage and use allergy medications as recommended by doctors. Asthma treatment has a different effectiveness on each sufferer, therefore the treatment of this disease needs to be monitored by a doctor with routine control and giving medicines to children as recommended. Do not change the dose yourself without the knowledge of the doctor because it can harm the child.
- Teach children about hand washing and other healthy living habits to minimize colds.
- Teach children about the importance of understanding and avoiding asthma triggers in themselves.
- Always provide an inhaler in the bag, and equip the child with an inhaler while at school or when doing activities outside the home. In older children, teach children to use an inhaler when an asthma attack occurs.
Tips for managing acute attacks of asthma in children
Asthma attacks can occur anytime and anywhere. Parents with children who suffer from asthma must already be prepared by always storing medicines and emergency equipment for the child’s asthma if an asthma attack arises. If some asthma symptoms or attacks on your child arise, some things you or those around him can do, are:
- Ask the child to sit upright and comfortable, and loosen his clothes so they are not tight.
- Spray the inhaler once into the spacer. Both of these tools are special devices for spraying drugs so that asthma symptoms can be resolved.
- Ask the child to take four breaths from the spacer. Install the tool correctly.
- Spray the inhaler three more times into the spacer, with each child spray taking four breaths each.
- Wait for four minutes. If there is no improvement, repeat the steps as above by giving four more spray inhalers into the spacer.
- If the child does not have an inhaler, then immediately use medication for asthma that is available in the medicine box or if there is no medicine available, immediately take your child to the nearest Emergency Room (ER).
Questions About Asthma in Children
Having a child with asthma is not an easy matter, there are various questions in your mind that might disturb your mind. Here are some questions that you might be worried about:
Will my child have asthma for life?
About 50% of children who have asthma will continue to experience it until adulthood.
Is it necessary to communicate asthma to our children to the school?
It is very important to ensure that the teacher and the adults around him (such as caregivers at home) understand the condition of the Little One, as well as what to do if he has asthma at school. If symptoms often appear when a child is at school, parents sometimes need to leave medicine with the teacher at school so that the symptoms can be treated immediately and if not treated with treatment, teachers at school can immediately take the child to the nearest hospital for treatment.
Can my child exercise normally?
Basically, exercise functions to reduce asthma symptoms and strengthen lung muscles. However, its implementation must be preceded by a doctor’s supervision. Spraying an inhaler before exercise can help reduce the risk of an asthma attack. Teach children to exercise according to their physical abilities and don’t overexert themselves when exercising.
Is it safe to keep pets at home?
Pet fur such as cats, dogs, and birds is one of the main triggers of allergies that can cause asthma attacks. Ask your doctor if you still want to keep animals at home.
Asthma in children you can not consider trivial. The reason is, this condition can harm your baby. Immediately consult your child’s condition if he experiences some of the symptoms of asthma that have been described above to get an examination and the right treatment. And always try to keep your baby to avoid the triggers of an asthma attack.
Beware if there are severe symptoms such as: decreased awareness, body looks blue, skin feels cold, heavy shortness of breath, seizures, the child does not want to breastfeed or is difficult to breastfeed, the child complains of sudden chest pain, coughing up blood or severe asthma attacks do not subside after receiving treatment at home. This condition is an emergency condition where parents must immediately bring their children to the emergency room to get immediate help.