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Asthma in children

Childhood asthma: definition
Asthma is a chronic respiratory disease that affects the lungs and is characterized by breathing difficulties, exacerbated during asthma attacks. Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease that bronchial diameter shrinks, thus impeding the passage of air and breathing. This airway obstruction is related to three phenomena autoentretiennent: the contraction of the muscles around the airways (called bronchospasm), swelling of the wall and finally mucus hypersecretion.

Origins and consequences of asthma
Asthma is a common disease and affects nearly 10% of children. This condition is potentially serious, has an impact on quality of life and development of the child but also on lung function. The childhood asthma is a leading cause of pediatric emergency department visit, with a rate of 5 to 6%, reaching more than 20% in autumn and winter (Marguet C, Group Research Advances PneumoPédiatrie . Supports the asthma of the child (baby included). Recommendations of the Society pediatric pulmonology and allergy. Better support individual can prevent asthma attacks and to treat them effectively.

Causes and mechanisms of childhood asthma
The main cause of asthma is bronchial hypersensitivity often allergic (pollen, mold, dust mites ...), the consequence of which is the sudden contraction and spasm of muscles. Within the family also plays an important role. Other circumstances are triggers of asthma attacks such as infections, cold, stress, effort or inhaled irritants (including passive smoking).

Symptoms of childhood asthma
The symptoms of asthma are difficulty breathing, chest tightness, wheezing when breathing but coughing. The occurrence of episodes of coughing laughter, excitement, stress is a symptom of asthma. These events are readily nocturnal yield spontaneously or under the effect of treatment. Before the age of 2 years, the diagnosis is difficult: you need to know before thinking about food problems (vomiting, wrong-way ...).

Most often, the crisis is reversible with treatment, but some severity criteria should be sought and needed to call emergency rescue healthcare: difficulty speaking, shallow breathing very fast or very slow depletion bluish lips (cyanosis), ineffective treatment ...

Asthma in children Prevention

With what should we be confused?

The diagnosis of asthma is made after extensive explorations and balance. Symptoms such as nocturnal cough in a child can evoke also gastroesophageal reflux. Think you should know a foreign body inhalation and unnoticed but also cystic fibrosis (sweat test).

Is there a prevention possible?

Hygiene simple life can improve the lives of asthma. Allergy plays a major role in asthma, you should eliminate substances that can trigger crises: reduce allergens in the home (anti-mite plastic covers for mattresses and pillows, regular washing of bedding, ventilation of rooms and eviction of carpets and rugs), avoid pets (cats), removal of the creche at least during the winter-automno if possible. Smoking cessation in the surroundings due to passive smoking is an imperative.

Implementation of a project to host individual (PAI) can accommodate children with asthma in school and extracurricular time to live safely and is developed with the attending physician, the medical school, the family's request to the director of the school (Ministry of National Education. community Home in children and adolescents with health problems evolving over a long period.

Asthma in children Preparing consultation

When to consult?
Any attack that does not respond in time to treatment requires a medical emergency (ambulance). It is the same for any unusual crisis (trigger, symptoms, rapid onset ...).

What is the doctor?

The physician makes the diagnosis of asthma (interview, clinical examination, looking for other diagnoses), provides a treatment of the crisis (bronchodilators such as Ventolin ®, administered by inhalation chamber so that the child can not manage the hand-mouth coordination) and monitors the progress of the disease. It will eventually be brought to prescribe DMARDs to take daily. A doctor will explorations as respiratory spirometry which annually evaluate, for example, the severity of the obstruction and allergy testing may be performed to identify allergenic elements to avoid. Aggravating factors as gastroesophageal reflux disease or infection ENT will also be sought.

The doctor then develops with parents a plan of action for managing asthma: when and how to increase the treatment? For how long? When to seek medical help?

How to prepare my next visit?

Consultations between the asthmatic child can measure his breath to assess its ability to breathe: it is the peak flow or peak flow. Simple and inexpensive (sold in pharmacies), the meter must be used regularly outside attacks, before / after treatment and also in times of crisis. The measured values ​​are to refer to each use on a notebook and guide the doctor.

Normal values ​​depend on the age, size and weight of the child.

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