Have you noticed your child having frequent coughing at night, during the day, with colds or playing sports? It could be an asthma attack.
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory condition of the lungs leading to airflow obstruction and airway hyper responsiveness. This condition is characterized by symptoms of coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing. As mentioned above triggering factors are often infections, cold air, allergies and exercise.
Asthma is the leading cause of chronic illness in children affecting 7 million in United States alone. It can begin at any age but most symptoms are seen early as young as 2 to 5 years of age and two thirds of asthmatics are diagnosed before the age of 18. Who are these children? Asthmatic children usually come from families that have a history of allergies Including food or environmental and live in an urban setting.They have other family members with asthma particularly on the mothers side. Common presentation is a young child between the ages of two and five with unexplained coughing and difficulty breathing with a common cold.
It can be difficult to determine whether your child is having asthma related symptoms particularly under the age of five. That's why it's important to track when, where and how symptoms present, keeping a diary for your doctor. A good history along with a physical examination and breathing tests for children over the age of six often secures the diagnosis. As well, children with asthma have a 90% chance of being allergic to environmental allergens such as pollen, dust mites or animal dander. Skin testing for allergies can also add more evidence towards the diagnosis and help with treatment.
Once your child is diagnosed with asthma he or she can live a normal, extremely active life which can include any aerobic sport. Newer medications which are extremely safe with few side effects have aided in complete control of symptoms. Your doctor and you can develop an individual emergency action plan to avoid symptoms and keep asthma silent.
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