Asthma (Children’s Allergies)
Allergy and Asthma symptoms can range from annoying to life threatening
An allergy is sensitivity to a substance that is normally harmless. Flowers, trees, a family pet, or dust are examples of things that can cause an allergy. Even foods like peanut butter, fish, and milk can cause an allergic reaction in sensitive people. A substance that triggers an allergy is called an allergen.
People can have different reactions to allergens, even when they are allergic to the same things. For example, and allergen that cause eye inflammation in one person may cause headache in another. Some common reactions a person might experience after contact with an allergic include:
- Eye inflammation
- Hay fever
- Upset stomach
- Eczema (a skin reaction)
- Ringing in the ears
- Ear infections
In rare cases, allergens can cause a severe reaction called anaphylaxis that can result in shock and can even be life threatening. Allergens most likely to cause this dangerous response include some foods (such as peanuts and shellfish) drugs, insect stings, and latex. The reaction may begin almost immediately after contact with the substance.
Warning signs of anaphylaxis include:
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- Severe hives
- Swelling of the eyes, lips, or inside the throat, which cause difficulty breathing
If you child shows signs of anaphylaxis, call for medical immediately.
If your child is allergic to a certain food or to a pet, total avoidance is the best strategy. Unfortunately, many allergens are not easy to eliminate. Dust mites, cockroaches, and mould are some common indoor allergens, and even if you keep your house immaculately clean, tiny particles of these substances are likely to remain. They can get into furniture, bedding, and soft toys.
Here are some tips that can help you keep your house allergy-safe for your children- limit your number of carpets in your home. It is easier to remove allergens from smooth, hard floors such as tile or wood.
- Use an air purifier with a filter to minimize the allergens floating in the air
- If pet skin flakes is the cause of your child’s allergies, keep the pet out of the child’s bedroom.
- Wash bed linens and stuffed animals in hot water to kill dust mites.
- Remove all cloth curtains from your child’s bedroom and replace with blinds.
Allergies, even food allergic, may lead to asthma, which has become one of the fastest growing health problems.
Asthma It is important to understand that asthma is a long-term disease of the respiratory system that involves inflammation in the tubes that carry air to the lungs. When allergen s get into the tubes of a child with asthma, the airways overact. The overreaction causes the airways narrow, leading to difficulty breathing. Symptoms of asthma attack may include:
- Rapid and shallow breathing
- Chest tightness
Asthma attacks may occur at different times and may result from a variety of factors. Your child may have symptoms only during exercise, especially if the air is cold and dry, symptoms that become worse at night or symptoms that occur when the child has cold or other type of respiratory illness.
Your doctor will recommend a treatment based on your child’s age and how persistent the symptoms are. In general, three types of medical treatments are available for asthma:
- Bronchodilators are often called “reliever medicines” because they relieve acute symptoms and prevent flare-ups. They open up narrow airways and provide temporary relief of asthma symptoms.
- Immunotherapy or allergy desensitization shots involve giving children small doses of allergens in a series of injections.
- Corticosteroids and other medications that reduce airway inflammation over days, weeks, or months are called “preventer medicines” because they are taken on a regular schedule even when there are no symptoms to prevent asthma attacks.
Parents should work with their doctors to develop a treatment plan specially tailored to each child’s needs. Every plan should include the following components:
- Avoiding triggers: This will help decrease the likelihood of an episode and will help control inflammation in the airways.
- Monitoring peak flow: Check your child’s lung function by using a small device called peak flow meter. Keep a diary or daily symptoms, peak flow rates
- An asthma action plan: This is a written plan with directions for dealing with your child’s asthma attacks at home and school. Being aware of symptoms and knowing how to make quick decisions about treatment helps parents gain better control over a child’s asthma.
- Proper use of medications: All the child’s caregivers need to understand when and how much medicine to give to the child. Treatment usually includes several types of medication, and many asthma medicines are inhaled through a device that gives lungs a puff of medication in a measured dose.
- Medical check-ups: The child should be examined by a doctor on a regular basis to review how well the treatment plan is working and to test the child’s lung function. This also will ensure that your child gets proper treatment for related health problems, such as infections.
Taking precautions can help prevent an asthma attack, or if one has already started, keep it from getting worse. During an attack, stay calm and soothe your child. This may help your child relax and help him breathe more easily.
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