Over 6% of children younger than 5 years of age are diagnosed with asthma. What is asthma? It’s a respiratory condition that causes “spasms” in the bronchi of the lungs, specifically causing the airways to swell, tighten, and become filled with mucus. This makes it difficult for a person suffering from asthma to breathe and it can be life-threatening. Children are more likely to have asthma if someone in their family has asthma though this does not mean your child can only get it if it’s hereditary. It simply increases his or her chances of having asthma. There are many factors that can contribute to asthmatic episodes so let’s delve into what those are and then discuss how you as parents can take a proactive role to make sure your child can get the treatment they need if diagnosed with asthma. What Can Cause an Asthma Episode?
- Changes in weather, especially when seasonal allergies are most prevalent
- Allergies due to weather, dust mites, cockroaches, pets, pollen, mold, and grass
- Exposure to extremely cold air, or drastic quick changes in temperature
- Pungent smells like those from perfume, paint fumes, or household cleaning products
- Strong emotions like excitement, nervousness, anxiety, just to name a few
- Respiratory infections like colds, sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia
Though these factors trigger asthma, there is no known cause or cure for asthma at this current time.
Warning Signs That Your Child May Have Asthma
- Heavy coughing or wheezing after physical activity, laughing, or a temper tantrum moment
- Dark circles that develop under your child’s eyes for no apparent reason
- Excessive coughing
- Frequent shortness of breath
- Frequent complaints of tightness in chest
- Difficulty breathing with any of the above causes mentioned
It’s important to pay attention to the above warning signs to keep your child safe and healthy. It’s better to know a proper diagnosis than live in doubt when it comes to asthma. If asthma is diagnosed in your child, you can significantly increase your child’s quality of life. Your child’s triggers will be known, in addition to coming up with a plan of attack if an episode does occur while being able to avoid certain activities and climates that worsen your child’s condition. Your child will also have access to the appropriate medicine and equipment to respond to asthma attacks quickly and safely. Then, everyone involved in your child’s life from you as parents, to grandparents, teachers, family members, just to name a few, can play a proactive role in knowing how to help your child if he or she experiences an asthmatic attack – and that is a beautiful thing.