How can asthma be treated in children? And Shaio

Asthma is considered a chronic syndrome that both children and adults can suffer in greater or lesser severity. That is why we talk to Dr. María Eugenia Gama, pediatrician and specialist in Pneumology and pediatric allergies at the Shaio Clinic, to resolve some of the doubts that revolve around this disease.

What is asthma?

It is a condition that inflames the lungs and bronchi, causing the caliber of the airways to decrease, causing difficulty breathing, chest tightness and coughing, which over time can have consequences for the heart, brain and other organs by not properly circulating the oxygenate.

What types of asthma are there?

There are many factors involved in the typology of the disease, it can be allergic or not, dependent or not on T2 cells, intermittent or perennial, mild, moderate or severe.

  • The allergic asthmait arises when the child is exposed to allergenic agents such as dust, pollen, animal hair or other elements that make breathing difficult.

  • In the seasonal asthmathe symptoms arise at different times of the year such as in rainy seasons, the child may have difficulty breathing, congestion or a lot of nasal discharge.

  • In the non-allergic asthma, lsymptoms appear when the child has had a respiratory infection or has been in contact with dust, cold air or sudden changes in temperature.

  • The occupational asthma, arises as a result of the child or adult being exposed to chemical substances.

How does asthma appear or be detected in children?

Symptoms can begin to appear from 0 to 3 years old, so it is very difficult to detect whether it is an asthmatic disease or not, because when they are so young, their immune and respiratory systems are not developed and they become more prone to develop any kind of disease. From the age of 3 to 8 it is more feasible to identify the symptoms of asthma.

What symptoms do children with asthma have?

Symptoms vary depending on the child, as they can be mistaken for a common cold or an allergy that improves over time, but there are some indicators such as:

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Constant cough that can get worse with a respiratory infection

  • Constant wheezing in the chest when exhaling

  • Chest congestion

Consequences of childhood asthma

  • Problems breathing while sleeping.

  • Episodes of coughing and wheezing that get worse with changes in weather.

  • Slow recoveries from respiratory illness.

  • Problems with doing physical activity.

  • tiredness

  • Poorly treated asthma can lead to heart and respiratory problems.

  • COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Some factors that can generate asthma in children

  • Exposure to tobacco smoke, even before birth

  • Previous allergic reactions, including skin reactions, food allergy or hay fever (allergic rhinitis)

  • Family history of asthma or allergies

  • Living in an area where there is high pollution

  • obesity

  • Respiratory conditions, such as runny or stuffy nose (rhinitis), inflamed sinuses (sinusitis) or pneumonia

  • Heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD)

How can you prevent asthma in children?

In terms of prevention, it is very important to have a certain amount of control over the child’s exposure to prevent illness, for example:

  • In the first months of life it is very important to feed the child with breast milk, exclusive breastfeeding is a protective factor for upper and lower respiratory diseases.

  • Avoid repeated visits to the house in the first 6 months of the baby’s life.

  • There are studies that show that diet is an important factor in the immune system of children, maintaining a varied diet of fruits, vegetables and proteins, allows there to be enough nutrients and vitamins that strengthen the immune system against these recurring diseases.

  • Limit exposure to triggers and allergenic agents.

  • Avoid contact with smokers, as it is a risk factor for acquiring respiratory diseases and complications associated with them.

  • Get the child to do regular physical activity to strengthen the lungs.

  • Carry out regular medical checks and reviews.

Treatments to control asthma

It is important to know that asthma is not cured, parents and children must be aware that it is a disease that will be throughout life, but this does not mean that with proper treatment you cannot have a normal life.

The first step is to make a diagnosis through lung function tests to identify if the disease exists, and to what degree of severity. Another thing to keep in mind is that since it is a chronic disease, adherence to treatment is very difficult to achieve because it requires persistence and dedication. There are also pharmacological treatments such as inhaled corticosteroids, leukotriene modifiers and combination inhalers.

Success in controlling asthma in children is that:

  • The treatment is formulated by the attending physician.

  • Carry out the treatments to the letter.

  • Do not abandon the child’s treatment for any reason.

  • Home remedies are not a cure, they only create a temporary feeling of well-being.

The key for a child with asthma to lead a normal life is that there is an understanding on the part of parents, relatives and the child himself of what this disease consists of and how to manage it. This is achieved through education, having a plan of action when symptoms appear, and having the doctor guide you a this process of education and treatment.

At the Shaio Clinic Foundation we have a Pediatric Unit that treats and accompanies children with complex pathologies. We have General Paediatrics, Pneumology, Nephrology, Cardiology and ICU and ECMO Support services.

This article had the advice of Dr. María Eugenia Gama, pediatrician and specialist in pediatric pulmonology and allergies at the Shaio Clinic.

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