Childhood Asthma: Expert Shares The Answers To Most Common Questions
Sleepless nights can unfortunately go hand in hand with asthma for some children.
10 per cent of Australian children aged 0-14 years suffer from asthma and the symptoms can be worrying for parents and the child. In Singapore, on the other hand, about five per cent of adults and 20 per cent of children have asthma. Here’s how to tackle some common concerns, recommended by a head pharmacist.
With childhood asthma, the symptoms vary from child to child. Thus, it is important to know how you can help your child if they are suffering from the condition.
This National Asthma Awareness Week, Kidspot spoke with Eric Chan, Head of Pharmacy at Blooms the Chemist, who shared some of the most common questions he receives from concerned parents – and most importantly, the answers he gives to each one!
How do I know if my child’s cough is an asthma cough?
This can be confusing, especially for new parents, as coughing is the major symptom of asthma and there are two distinct types of coughs to look out for.
The first is the productive cough, which sees the expelling of mucus and phlegm from the lungs. The second and most common in asthma sufferers is the non-productive cough, which is a dry cough that causes the swelling and constriction of the airways.
The constriction of these airways may also result in a high-pitched wheezing that follows an asthma cough.
I’ve noticed my child’s asthma symptoms get worse at night – is this normal?
Sleepless nights can unfortunately go hand in hand with asthma for some children. Research published in the US Academic Pediatrics has found that those with moderate to severe nocturnal asthma symptoms had much poorer sleep.
It is not yet proven what exactly causes nocturnal asthma, however it is believed that the reclining sleep position, increased mucus production, exposure to allergens such as dust mites in the mattress or a delayed response to allergens encountered during the day may be some contributing factors.
Asthma Symptoms To Look Out For
The symptoms of asthma in children vary from child to child, so make sure you know your child’s symptoms.
The National Asthma Council Australia says that some of the common symptoms include:
- Wheezing – a continuous, high-pitched sound coming from the chest while breathing
- Shortness of breath – a feeling of not being able to get enough air
- A feeling of tightness in the chest
- Coughing – alongside other symptoms
How can I help manage my child’s asthma throughout winter?
The colder months can be a frustrating time for asthma sufferers – however, there are some easy ways to manage the symptoms throughout winter.
Take precautions for any outside exercise as cold, dry air can irritate the airways, especially if your child’s lungs are already in an inflamed state.
A dehumidifier will help to extract any water from the air and reduce humidity, which can be a potential irritant. Keeping your hands clean is also a great way to maintain good hygiene and prevent the spread of germs that could cause a flare up in asthma symptoms.
Is asthma hereditary?
Asthma is caused by multiple interacting genes and environmental factors, however just because a parent suffers with asthma does not necessarily guarantee that your child will have it too.
Will my child ‘grow’ out of asthma?
This is a very common question that many parents have – it’s important to manage your child’s asthma at their pace and based on the severity of their condition.
Working together with your local healthcare professional can help to manage your child’s symptoms.
How often should my child be using their Reliever puffer versus their Preventer puffer?
It is important to follow your healthcare professional’s advice and your asthma action plan regarding your child’s puffers.
Some children may need to take their preventer puffer regularly if wheezing occurs and they are finding it hard to breathe, however others may only require their reliever puffer when they have symptoms.
Treatment for your child depends on their symptoms and age, and should be monitored regularly with a dedicated healthcare professional. Please speak to your local GP for advice.
This article was first published on KidSpot and republished on theAsianparent with permission.