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Signs of Asthma in Children

Children with asthma will wheeze and will seem anxious and fidgety. Although not easy to recognize asthma is on the rise among children and the medical community is wondering why. About ten percent of all children have asthma to some degree. Many will outgrow this by puberty, many will not. It may even become worse. At one time it was thought that heredity was the primary cause for asthma but now that it has increased environmental factors seem to be equally to blame.

Probably both are right: Heredity determines the makeup of the individual child and the environment increases the possibility of an attack. What to look for if asthma is suspected? If your child has allergies and has frequent upper respiratory illness, coughs a lot, is somewhat small for age, suspect asthma. Asthma is more frequent among male children than girls although both are afflicted and among races the black population is more apt to be asthmatic.

Specifically, how you recognize the symptoms of asthma is if your child has a cough, if he wheezes and if he complains of pain or a tightening in his chest and if he is short of breath. In other words if he is breathing rapidly and is out of breath and if there are chest movements when he breathes. That is if you can see his chest contract when he breathes.

The above symptoms come about because breathing, that is getting enough air is hard for him to do. He has to work at it because his wind pipe-trachea-narrows at times and threatens to close as a reaction to some triggering agent. This is what makes asthma such an immediate disease. By that I mean immediate action is needed to be taken when an attack is happening so that the airway will remain open.

How is asthma in children treated? It is treated methodically and with a detailed care plan by both doctor and parents and child that must be carried out. It is not a hit or miss procedure and all involved must know how to react not only to impending attacks but routinely. Routine measures to assure as many triggering agents will be avoided and to never be without medical needs.

These medical needs are for the little older child an inhaler as described by doctor and used whenever he is supposed to use it. Before activities, and at other stressful times to avoid an attack. Parents are instructed to know when to medicate the child themselves and when to get extra help. Teachers and school nurses are also in on the treatment and will know when to help.

Asthma dealt with in this way with children has made it possible for these children to become as normal as possible and not to become victims to their illness. Many athletes are asthma sufferers and must know when they need their medicine. Some of these were childhood asthma victims that went into sports in spite of their illnesses and others have asthma because of the stress of the exercise. Both need to take medicine to prevent attacks.

The actual diagnosis of asthma is hard to do in infants. One can only guess if there seems to be breathing problems or if there are more than the usual amount of upper respiratory ailments. In older children there are definite tests that determine the lung capacity, chest x-rays and chest pains and observance of shortness of breath and other breathing difficulties. One definite symptom is wheezing and health care workers are especially adept at interpreting these particular sounds.