Asthma is defined as a “respiratory condition marked by attacks of spasm in the bronchi of the lungs, causing difficulty in breathing.” It is usually connected to allergic reaction or other forms of hypersensitivity. If you feel that your child might be suffering from asthma, take a look at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available below.
Symptoms of asthma can often be spotted from early childhood. Ask your doctor for advice if your child is showing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Cough – A cough that won’t go away or keeps coming back/A night time and early morning cough/A cough after being active
- Wheeze – A whistling sound then they breath
- Tight chest – ‘A tummy ache’ as children often describe it
- Breathlessness – Listen for fast breathing and watch to see if your child uses lots of their body to breath, for example, shrugging their shoulders up and down
The NHS explain that the exact causes of asthma are unknown. They do, however, suggest that a few different triggers can be a contributing factor towards swollen and “sensitive” airways that cause ‘asthma’:
- Infections like cold and flu
- Allergies to pollen, dust mites, animal fur or feathers
- Weather – such as sudden changes in temperature, wind, thunderstorms, heat and humidity
- Mould or damp
If you feel like the above criteria applies to your child, book an appointment to see a GP. They will run you through their concerns, and will likely be able to diagnose your child with asthma where appropriate. There are various tests which can be carried out, however these aren’t always conclusive in children. Instead, the doctor is likely to prescribe an inhaler to test whether symptoms improve.
Similar to there being no specific cause of asthma, there is also no cure. However, inhalers are now the main treatment which are really effective. Tablets and other medications may also be applicable if your child’s asthma turns out to be severe.
To find more detailed information about asthma and inhalers in children, go to the NHS website – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/asthma/