What is it?
Asthma is a condition whereby a person’s airways can react to triggers by becoming inflamed, or narrowing and swelling, therefore making it hard to breathe. While babies often suffer from wheezing, this doesn’t mean they will develop asthma later on and many children grow out of it once reaching puberty. With the right treatment children with asthma can lead a very normal life, participating in all activities including sports. It is, however, important that any child with asthma is knows how to manage their condition and is always prepared for an asthma attack.
Signs and symptoms
Symptoms of an asthma attack include:
- A tightness in the chest
- A persistent cough
Certain triggers may cause asthma attacks and these should be avoided wherever possible.
Triggers include, but are not limited to:
- Exposure to cigarette smoke
- Airway infections such as the common cold, especially during infancy
- Indoor and outdoor air pollution
- Dust mites, animals, pollen or mould
- Weather conditions, such as cold air
How do I manage asthma?
It is important to have a tailored plan from your GP for any child living with asthma. This may include a prescription for reliever medicine such as inhalers. If your child is prescribed and inhaler it is essential that a spacer device is used. Attaching a spacer makes it easier to inhale the medicine as it ‘floats’ in the spacer until your child can breathe it in. This helps to get the medicine into the child’s lungs more effectively and also reduces the risk of side effects. Spacer devices ensure your child is receiving the full benefit of their medication as it increases lung deposition of the medication by as much as 50 per cent. Different spacers have different priming and cleaning requirements - please talk to your Guardian pharmacist about what is most suitable for you and your child.