For reasons not known, the incidence of asthma is on the rise. As high as 10 percent of all children will suffer from asthma at some time during childhood. This debilitating lung disease can affect even infants. While some adolescents outgrow the symptoms, asthma often sneaks back during adulthood.
How Can I Recognize Asthma?
Asthma causes inflammation of the airways. It swells the bronchial tubes, produces sticky secretions inside the breathing tubes, and contracts the muscle that spirals around the bronchial tubes.
When a child's airflow is obstructed during an asthma attack, you may hear a wheezing or whistling sound. However, not all children with asthma wheeze. A chronic cough may be the only obvious sign, and a child's asthma may go unrecognized if his dry, hacking cough is erroneously attributed to recurrent bronchitis.
What Causes Asthma?
Flare-ups are triggered most often by viral respiratory infections, cold air, exercise, tobacco smoke, and allergies. While not all children with allergies have asthma, an allergy to dust mites and cockroaches can particularly trouble kids who are predisposed to asthma. Reducing exposure to mites and cockroaches can reduce asthma symptoms.
Can Asthma Be Managed?
To control asthma symptoms, avoid environmental triggers and allergens whenever possible. For example, smoking near the child should not be permitted, especially in confined places such as a child's bedroom or a car. If your child has allergies, you've probably heard this from your pediatrician: keep Fido out of the child's bedroom!1