Detecting asthma in toddlers can be challenging. Find out how to identify the symptoms– and discover what you can do about them– so that you and your child can breathe easy.
Perhaps it’s your toddler’s persistent cough that first captures your attention. Or a whistling noise that you hear in her breathing. Or possibly it’s the method her colds constantly have the tendency to linger. Could all these symptoms indicate your wheezing wee one has asthma?
What is asthma?
Asthma is a condition where an individual’s breathing tubes (called bronchial respiratory tracts) occasionally end up being inflamed, swollen, and filled with mucus, often in action to an allergen or other irritation to the airways. Asthma flare-ups can cause shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and/or wheezing– and when it happens to your toddler, it can be downright frightening for both of you. After all, what’s scarier than seeing your child not being able to catch her breath?
Why do some kids get asthma?
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children, and 70 percent of all cases of childhood asthma establish prior to a child turns three. Why do some kids develop the condition while others do not? Researchers think it pertains to a child’s genes and/or environment. To puts it simply, specific hereditary and environmental risk factors can predispose a child to developing asthma. These risk factors include:
- A family history of asthma or allergies
- Having eczema or other allergic conditions
- Dealing with a cigarette smoker
- Exposure to smoke in the womb
- Residing in a city, polluted area
- Low birth weight
- Weight problems
What causes an asthma flare-up?
There are several elements that can activate asthma in young children, however what causes an asthma flare-up in one person may be different from what causes a flare-up in somebody else. The most typical asthma triggers are:
- Allergens such as dust, pollen, and family pet dander
- Irritants such as previously owned cigarette smoke, pollution, and paint fumes
- Infections like a cold or the flu
- Cold air
- Extreme emotions, like a temper tantrum
How is the disease diagnosed?
It’s frequently challenging to diagnose asthma in young children since lung-function tests (where a child blows into a device that determines how quickly and how much air she can breathe out) aren’t precise in children below 6. That implies the doctor will rely a lot on what you expose about your child’s symptoms.
So take cautious notes about what your toddler’s asthma symptoms are, how often they take place, and under what conditions– and bring these notes with you to your consultation. The doctor will also ask you about your household’s case history (does Mom or Dad have asthma or other allergic conditions?) to aim to figure out if your toddler is genetically inclined to developing asthma.
How is asthma in toddlers treated?
For kids younger than three, some medical professionals will suggest holding off on asthma medication for as long as possible (i.e., up until asthma symptoms become worse). That’s due to the fact that asthma medications are powerful, and experts aren’t sure about the long-term results they may have on young kids. If, nevertheless, your toddler has severe flare-ups and it appears like she would truly benefit from them (and those benefits outweigh any prospective risks), the doc might recommend medication to see if your child’s symptoms enhance.
Depending on the nature of your child’s asthma, the doctor may recommend one or both of these types of medications:
- A quick-relief (short-acting) medication called a bronchodilator that rapidly opens up your child’s air passages when they are swelling during an asthma attack.
- A preventive (long-acting) medication, like an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid, which your toddler would need to take day-to-day to keep the respiratory tracts from getting inflamed in the first place.
Unlike other medications that come in a liquid form, which kids can swallow, the majority of asthma medications need to be inhaled so they get delivered straight into your toddler’s air passages. Older children and adults can use an inhaler to do this (an inhaler is a portable device which contains the medication– you put the inhaler’s mouthpiece to your mouth, breath in, and the inhaler releases the medication, normally through a mist). But inhalers can be difficult for toddlers to use. So you’ll probably have to put a little mask over your tot’s mouth and nose that will be connected to the inhaler or a nebulizer (which performs the same function as an inhaler however is larger and isn’t as quickly portable). The mask will make it much easier for her to breath in the medicine correctly, states iytmed.org.
Whether your toddler gets medication, it’s also important that you do your best to assist her steer clear of irritants or irritants that cause her asthma to flare up. That may include keeping your house clean and dust free (as much as you may hate going out that mop!) or making sure your child does not have playdates in the houses where there are cats. It will take some extra planning, but your efforts will go a long way towards assisting your child. And there may be hope on the horizon: Many kids with asthma outgrow the condition by the time they struck teenage years, likely due to the fact that their airways grow. So continue to check in with your child’s doctor frequently and keep tabs on your toddler’s symptoms. That way you can stay on top of any changes (excellent or bad) in her condition.