Asthma, which causes a person to experience difficulty in breathing, runs in my family as hereditary disorder. Most males in the family have asthma right from their childhood or have developed it during or before their teenage. As per American Lung Association, asthma is the third leading cause of hospitalization among children under age of 15 and is the most common cause of school absenteeism due to chronic disease among children ages 5 to 17 that accounts for almost 13 million lost school days per year.
As far as the statistic goes, 7 million children under age 18 have asthma, 4.1 million of these kids had an asthma attack and many others has either hidden or undiagnosed asthma. That’s almost 1 out of every 10 children.
You will be surprised to know that famous people like Rapper Coolio had asthma. We all know him for his hit songs like “Gangsta’s Paradise” than for his fight against the asthma illness. Besides Olympians like Misty Hyman and Amy VanDyken, Tom Dolan, Karen Furneaux, and Kurt Grote also have had asthma. It is sad at the same time motivating that in spite of being asthmatic, these people are fit and fine and an asset for the country.
It’s not easy to prevent your child’s asthma symptoms entirely, but the good news is that you can help your child gain control over asthma. Here is the glimpse on asthma and how can you control it?
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the airways of the lungs to tighten and swell. These include: swelling of the lining, tightening of the muscle, and increased secretion of mucus in the airway. The narrowed airway is responsible for the difficulty in breathing with the familiar “wheezing” sound. It is common among children and teens.
What is an asthma attack?
An asthma attack happens when your child’s lungs do not get enough air to breathe. Your child may cough or wheeze during an attack.
Ways to control asthma
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and American Lung Association offers the following advice on controlling asthma:
- Dust Mites: These are tiny bugs that live in bed sheets, blankets, pillows, mattresses, furniture, carpets, and your child’s stuffed toys. Wash bedding in hot water once a week, choose home washable stuffed toys and wash them in hot water and dry completely before your child plays with the toy.
- Secondhand smoke: Don’t let anyone smoke near your child. If you smoke, don’t smoke inside or in presence of your child. I would suggest you to consider quitting smoking for the better future of your child.
- Pets: Some kids are allergic to pet...
hair and dust. If you have pets at your home, either you should find another home for them or keep them outside if possible. In case you have to have pets inside, keep it out of your child’s bedroom. Vacuum carpets and clean furniture every week to control pet hair and dust.
- Nitrogen dioxide gas: It is a gas comes from appliances inside your home if you burn fuels such as gas, kerosene, and wood. It can bother your eyes, nose, and throat and may also cause shortness of breath. It is recommended to use the exhaust fan while cooking on a gas stove. Keep your child away when you are using such sources of fuel.
2. Outdoor air pollution: Check Air Quality Index (AQI) in your local weather report. It offers information how much pollution is in the air. It is recommended that child should play outdoors at times when the air quality is better. In the summer, this may be in the morning.
4. Meditation or breathing exercise: Use meditation techniques and breathing exercises to help strengthen your child’s lungs and control their breathing. You can find various yoga steps and breathing exercises online by quick and easy Google search.
5. Asthma Medications: Take consultation from your child’s pediatrician about asthma medications. Quick-relief bronchodilators work best to treat wheezing and shortness of breath before exercise; and inhaled corticosteroids (ICSs) help to prevent or reduce airway swelling (inflammation).
6. Keep your home clean: Vacuum carpets and clean furniture when your child is not around. This will reduce or eliminate dust, fur, hair, dirt, pollen and other triggers that may irritate your child’s lungs..
7. Education about Asthma: Both you and your child should be well-educated about asthma, associated symptoms and ways to manage asthma, including how to use asthma inhaler and how to evaluate breathing with a peak flow monitor.
I believe that avoiding trigger factors can make a great difference in your child’s condition. If your child has asthma and he or she could manage to avoid exposure to allergens (such as house dust, molds, pets, etc), I am sure the severity would be lessened by many folds. I wish you find the ways to control asthma useful for happy and healthy future of your kids.