Let’s talk about Asthma in Children

Today is 1st May, It’s celebrated as World Asthma Day everywhere across the globe. And it’s time to spread awareness and treatment for this with the prevalence growing every year specially in the urban children. It’s said that one out of three children have impaired lung in capital New Delhi.

India had 35 million asthmatic patients in 2016

The reason is simple the increase air pollution and global warming. Children are prone to get respiratory problems easily. Less than 5 years age children normally has a hyper-reactive airway. Other than that it’s airway inflammation and airway obstruction due to bronchospasm. Usually we doctors have seen that asthma generally improves with age as resolution take place after childhood.

In infants and children symptoms of asthma are:

•Wheezing (a whistling sound) while child is breathing
•Rapid breathing
•Labored breathing
•Complaints of chest hurting
•Reduced energy
•Feeling weak or tired

Having a clinical symptom of wheezing is not just the diagnosis for the asthma, as it takes at least 3 episodes of wheezing that are reversible to clinically diagnose.

Risk Factors of Asthma in Children:
•Family history of allergies and/or asthma
•Secondary smoking before and/or after birth
•Frequent respiratory infections
•Living in overcrowded areas like in cities
•Growing up in a low income, urban environment
•Low birth weight baby
•Recent Studies shows baby with Cesarean section induces

There are several things that triggers asthma that includes:
Allergens: Dander of pets like cats and dogs in the house, dust particles, mitesm pollen grains in environment, fungi etc.
Exercising or playing sports triggers the asthmatic attack,
Emotional changes can induce,
Changing in temperature: Either too cold or too hot,
Viral Infections like Rhino virus, Influenza,
It’s seen many of the child’s parents or family members who smoke in the room triggers,
and lastly some drugs like NSAIDs and beta blockers.

If you want to prevent your child from asthma attacks always remember:
Never ever smoke cigarette, hukka, bidi etc in front of child.
Don’t even use mosquito coil (kachhua chhap) or agabartti.
Don’t use perfumes.
Have allergy testing to get to know the status.
Keep away pets if the allergy is with danders.
Stay away from pollution prone areas.
Always remember to give an inhaler before child leave for school.

To get the confirm diagnosis the gold standard is PFT (Pulmonary Function Testing)

Other than PFT, Complete blood picture shows eosinopiliha (>4%) and Immunoglobulin test IgE levels comes elevated.

There are various types of inhalers in the pharma shops available nowadays. It’s easily controllable by taking puffs out of it as per the direction and suggestion of your physician to take control of the asthma attack.
For children 4 or less than that there is face-mask + Spacer + MDI (Metered Dose Inhaler)
For children 5-12 years age: Spacer + MDI
For children above 12 can take directly with MDI.

Sad asian child holds a mask vapor inhaler for treatment of asth
Image: Face-mask inhaler


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