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Asthma in children

Asthma in children
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Finding out your child has asthma can be devastating. However, modern medication and treatment plans can help to manage the condition and ensure it has the minimum impact on their life. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of asthma, the different types of medication available and how you can control the condition both at home and within school.

Symptoms

Your child won’t have these symptoms all the time and the severity of them can vary. Asthma is a long term illness that needs to be treated correctly to reduce the risk of a serious attack. If you think that your child might have symptoms, you should arrange a consultation with your GP so they can make a diagnosisSymptoms can include a wheezing or whistling sound coming from the chest and a shortness of breath. Children will often suffer from excessive bouts of coughing, particularly after they’ve exercised or at night. They may also complain of stomach ache, which is caused by tightness within the chest.

Diagnosis

Your medical professional will examine a range of information before making a diagnosis of asthma. They will look at the symptoms your child has and may ask you to keep a diary of events, including anything that makes the symptoms worse or better. In older children they will often check their lung function with a peak flow meter. They will also listen inside their chest to hear any wheezing.

Asthma in children

Medication

When your child has received a diagnosis they will be prescribed the appropriate medication. This might be altered in the initial period, to ensure they are on the most appropriate one. Asthma medication is generally delivered through an inhaler, which can be used as both a spray and dry powder. Spacers can be used alongside inhalers with younger children to help them get the full dose.

Reliever inhalers are generally blue and used when their asthma symptoms flare up. They work by opening up the airways to make breathing easier. Children with asthma should keep their reliever inhaler with them in case of an attack.

Some children will also have a preventer inhaler, which can be brown, white or red. They provide protection for the airway lining and are taken daily to limit the risk of having an attack. They are often prescribed if the child needs to use their reliever at least three times per week.

Have an action plan

An Asthma Action Plan is particularly beneficial in the over 5s and can help to manage their care. This should be completed by your nurse or GP and will cover a range of areas associated with the treatment of their condition. It will include information on their medication and what to do if their symptoms worsen or in the event of an emergency. The plan will tell you when to alter their dosage and when you should return to your doctor or nurse. Even children that have their asthma under control should have a review at least twice a year. In some cases their medication may be reduced.

At school

It’s important with school age children that both the child and teachers are aware of their condition and the medication they require. Keep them up to date with details of when they might need their inhaler and ensure that they have a labelled reliever inhaler in school all the time.

Having asthma doesn’t have to prevent your children taking part in activities. As long as their condition is managed and treated correctly, they should be able to do everything their peers can.

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About Catherine Stern

About Catherine Stern

Catherine Stern is a freelance writer with a background in marketing and PR. She currently writes web content on a range of subjects, from finance and business to travel and home improvements. As a working single mum of two young boys she understands the pressures that today’s working parents face and the topics they want to read about.

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