What IS hidden ASTHMA?
diagnosis of asthma is missed due to absence of classical signs
of asthma i.e. wheezing, rapid breathing and coughing become
obvious. The condition of many children with asthma will go
undetected if careful examination is not done. These children
with asthma usually suffer some degree of airway obstruction:
and unless it is brought under control, the children may suffer
respiratory illness more frequently.
however can produce so few recognizable symptoms that even the
physician might not be able to distinguish abnormal breath
sounds with his or her stethoscope. Pulmonary function testing
usually reveals these cases of airway obstruction.
Children with family history of atopy and allergy and who are
also having recurrent cough and respiratory infections must be
suspected for having asthma. Parent's input can be vital for
Episodes of asthma
often are triggered by some condition or stimulus.
triggering factors are:
House dust mites.
Environmental factors (cold air, fog, ozone, sulfur
dioxide, cigarette smoke, diesel fumes).
weather and temperature.
flowers of grass and trees.
dust and fumes and strong odors from fresh paints and
addictives and preservatives (monosodium glutamate,
pets (like dogs, cats, birds, and small rodents).
Pharmacological agents (aspirin, other NSAIDs, beta
emotions such crying and laughing.
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Exercise induced asthma
is a subset of asthma which is
initiated by exercise. Running can trigger an episode in over 80
percent of children with asthma. Swimming is the most asthma
friendly exercise. Exercise induced asthma can be prevented by
the use of short acting beta-2 agonist like Salbutamol (albuterol)
inhaler 15 minutes before exercise. If child is engaged in
almost daily exercise schedule, long acting beta-2 agonists are
cigarette smoke, strong odors, aerosol sprays and paint fumes,
strong odors are same the substances which irritate the tissues
of the lungs and upper airways.
Cigarette smoke is highly irritating and can trigger asthma.
Cigarette smoking certainly should be avoided in the home of
any child with asthma. Parents must be persuaded to quit
smoking. It has been shown that when the parents of a child with
asthma stop smoking, the child's asthma often improves.
Irritants must be recognized and avoided.
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There are number
of climatic conditions that trigger asthma in children. Cold air
is a common trigger for asthma. Pulmonary function studies
demonstrate that breathing cold air provoke asthma in most of
Precautions may be necessary to avoid inhalation of cold air. A
heavy scarf, warn loosely over the nose and mouth will also help
avoid cold air induced asthma. Wearing a special ski mask
designed for this purpose also helps.
The weather affects outdoor inhalant allergens (pollens and
molds). On a windy day more allergens will be scattered in the
air, while a heavy rainfall will wash the air clean of
allergens. On the other hand, a light rain might wash (just
pollen but actually increase mold concentration.
Moving to a new area may not always help in reducing asthma
severity. There may be short term improvement but in long term
this benefit vanishes. There does not seem to be one best
climate for all children with asthma.
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are not the cause of asthma as many believe but emotional stress
can infrequently trigger asthma.
A child's asthma might only, be noticeable after laughing,
crying or yelling in response to an emotional situation. These
“emotional' responses involve rapid and deep breathing that
cools and dry the airway which in turn can trigger asthma.
Emotional stress itself (anger, anxiety, frustration) also can
trigger asthma but only in allergic or a topic children who are
already suffering from asthma.
Emotions can aggravate asthma. Many children with asthma suffer
from severe anxiety during an episode as a result of suffocation
produced by asthma. The anxiety and panic can then produce rapid
breathing or hyperventilation, which further triggers the
For this reason,
anxiety and panic should be controlled as much as possible
during the episode. The parent should remain calm, encourage the
child to relax and breathe easy and give appropriate medication.
Treatment should be aimed at controlling the asthma. When asthma
is controlled other emotional factors can then be dealt with
As with any other chronic illness asthma is also associated with
secondary psychological problems. Severe psychological problems
require a specialist to help the child and his or her family.
Is my child suffering from asthma?
problems in your child may be due to childhood asthma. Go to the
questioner and answer the questions in yes and no. If the answer
is yes it may be asthma. Consult your family physician for
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