Is your child coughing, wheezing, or having trouble breathing?
It may be time to go to a doctor who specialises in pulmonary and respiratory medicine. With a pulmonologist’s help, you’ll know for certain if your child may have asthma.
Asthma is a condition where there is chronic inflammation in the tiny airways of the lungs. Childhood or paediatric asthma is the same as the one experienced by adults. However, the symptoms are different in children.
If your little one has asthma, a cold or allergies may inflame their airways and lungs and lead to an asthma attack. While there is no treatment for asthma in kids, you can still ask your paediatric pulmonologist on how to treat the condition and manage it in a way that will prevent damage to their developing lungs.
When dealing with asthma in children, know that symptoms can vary among children.
Some of the most telltale signs are coughing that doesn’t seem to go away, breathing problems, and wheezing. Other children may also exhibit rapid breathing, retraction, tightness, pain in the chest, and trouble eating or sleeping. They may also experience low energy levels, show an aversion to sports or play, or lethargy.
If you are worried about your child’s asthma, you can seek a pulmonary and respiratory doctor’s help. Sometimes, you may also need to work with allergy and immunology specialists as part of the asthma action plan that your child’s doctor might recommend.
The knowledge and experience of these medical experts can help you understand your child’s condition. Close consultation with them can also help you and your child manage asthma better. If you are feeling lost as to what to do with your child’s ailment, here are some top questions that you can ask your doctor:
1. Will my child need allergy testing?
Aside from colds, sinus infections, and pneumonia, other things can trigger your child’s asthma. Allergens such as dust mites, mold, pet dander, or pollen can cause asthma flare-ups.
Some doctors may first recommend that you make changes in your home or in the environment surrounding your children, such as removing irritants like dust, smoke, or strong scents. However, if symptoms persist, your child may need to be tested for allergies.
This step is crucial in identifying which specific allergens are causing your child’s asthma symptoms. Allergy testing may not be fool-proof, but it can help improve their condition by pinpointing and avoiding potential allergens.
2. Will my child need to take asthma medicine?
Along with avoiding triggers and close observation of daily symptoms, using medication is also a good way of controlling paediatric asthma.
Quick-relief medications are given to children to help alleviate the sudden onset of symptoms. Long-term medication may also be prescribed by doctors to prevent airway inflammation. This kind of medicine may need to be taken every day for a certain period to control asthma.
Ask your doctor about the correct dose and dosage as well as possible side effects and risks. If you are not comfortable with the prescribed medication, it is best to inquire about why the doctor is taking this course of action.
3. Can my child still engage in sports or vigorous activities?
Some parents are concerned about whether their children can still enjoy playtime or engage in vigorous activities. Nowadays, doctors may prescribe some form of exercise, such as swimming, to strengthen lung muscles and help long-term lung function.
However, some activities may trigger asthma attacks, so it is better to discuss these things with your doctor. They can prescribe the proper course of action on what and how to engage in active events.
4. How should I talk about asthma to my child and other people?
Some kids get stigmatised because of their asthma. Other kids may shun them or exclude them from participating in games or other activities. In turn, your child can become withdrawn or aloof.
To address this, you should be open to discussing your child’s condition in a way that is easy to understand. You may want to research paediatric asthma topics or talk to your doctor on the best way to talk about asthma. There are reading materials or videos that use child-friendly content (such as animated videos or comic books).
You should also talk to your child’s coaches, teachers, or school nurse regarding your child’s condition. Be sure that they have a copy of your child’s asthma action plan and medications should an asthma episode happen in school.
5. How would I know if I should get emergency care?
Despite your best efforts to control and manage asthma, certain instances may trigger an acute attack.
When you observe these symptoms, get immediate medical care:
- Chest pain or when your child’s chest pull in when breathing
- Belly sinks in under your child’s ribs when getting air or using the stomach muscles to breathe
- Catching their breath in the middle of a sentence
- Fast heartbeat
- Enlarged or flaring nostrils
- Sweating more than usual
Get the Right Answers
When your child has asthma, you want to be assured that they will be given proper medical attention. Ensure that you consult with pediatric pulmonary or respiratory specialists to ensure that your child will be dealt with appropriately.
Do not be afraid to ask questions because you’re sure to get answers that can make your child’s life with asthma more comfortable.