As a parent, you know that asthma isn’t something you want to play around with. If your child has asthma, you want them to have the medicine her or she needs — and you want to be on top of things whenever they has an episode. Your child’s safety and health are your number one concern and you don’t want to do anything to compromise that.
Yet many parents don’t have a good understanding of what asthma actually is, and how to recognize the symptoms when they appear. By brushing up on our knowledge of this very common condition, we increase our chances of knowing it when we see it — and knowing what to do when there’s an asthma attack.
What is asthma?
Asthma is a disease of the lungs that causes the air passages to narrow, constrict, and become inflamed. Symptoms often occur late at night or early in the morning, or during physical activity. It’s estimated that over 7 million American children have asthma.
Specifically, the muscles around the air passages tighten and constrict during an asthma attack. This can produce a chain reaction of further narrowing, as well as increased production of mucus, which adds to the difficulty of an asthma attack.
What are the signs and symptoms in children?
You might notice an unusual number of coughing episodes in your child which can occur during laughter or physical activity. A chronic cough is also possible.
Your child might not be able to sustain physical activity for a long time, and will easily exhibit signs of fatigue. Shortness of breath will occur easily.
It’s not uncommon for kids with asthma to complain of a “tight” feeling in the chest, whether during physical activity or at rest.
You’ll often notice a wheezing or whistling sound as your child breathes, particularly during physical activity.
How is asthma treated?
There is no cure for asthma, but understanding the condition and having a plan in place can reduce both the frequency and intensity of the attacks. This plan will include minimizing factors that make asthma worse — however, it’s important to remember that abstaining from physical activity is not an effective way to manage asthma. In terms of medicine for asthma, there are long-term and immediate medicines. The long-term asthma medicines will work to minimize inflammation and prevent attacks from starting. When an episode does take place, short-term medicines can provide very fast relieve and enable your child to breath normally again.
What should you do if you suspect your child is asthmatic?
If you’ve noticed any combination of the above symptoms in your child, it’s a good idea to head for a provider at Family First as soon as possible to seek a diagnosis. The above symptoms aren’t necessarily asthma, but they certain warrant a careful examination by a trained medical professional.
It’s not necessary to schedule an appointment and wait for your child to receive medical attention for his or her asthma. You can walk-in (no appointment necessary) at Family First Urgent Care in either Oakhurst or Toms River and we can accurately diagnose and treat this condition.