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Childhood Asthma

Now a days , children are being more and more reported to have recurrent wheezing, persistent cough, sneezing and nose block. When they go the doctor, most of times they are diagnosed as asthma/ wheezy bronchitis/ reactive airway disease.

Diagnosis of asthma puzzles the parents very much and they find difficulty in accepting the diagnosis. Let us see some common myths about asthma prevalent in general population which are being demystified:

Children do not have asthma. It is a disease of elderly.

No, asthma is a chronic disease of airways and it can affect across various ages. Childhood asthma is a separate well established entity. When your child is diagnosed with asthma, don’t make assumptions. Whatever you know about asthma may not apply to your child. Many experts say that asthma is a spectrum, not a single disease. Asthma in children is often quite different from asthma in adults.

Asthmatic kids can not play / participate in sports

Today, sports are usually recommended for children with asthma, because exercise strengthen lung muscles and reduce asthma symptoms and long-term lung function. Still, because some activities might be more likely to trigger asthma flare-ups, it’s best to first talk with a doctor about child’s sports activities. It is often helpful for a child with asthma to use an salbutamol inhaler before practicing or competing. This can minimize the effect of exercise on asthma and is better than waiting for the coughing to start after the activity ends.

No air conditioner in bedrooms for asthmatic children

It is a myth that air conditioning makes wheeze worse. In reality , air conditioning in the bedroom helps in filtering the dust and pollutants in outside air as well as it helps in reducing the growth of dust mites which is very common and important trigger for sneezing and night cough in asthmatic kids. Air conditioners should ideally use HEPA filters and should be regularly serviced.

Allergy testing is very good test

Allergy testing is a way of finding out which specific allergens might be causing your child’s symptoms. It’s not fool-proof, but still useful. Addressing the most common triggers will improve your child’s symptoms. Allergy testing can be done by two ways—one is through blood test similar to other tests which gives results fairly fast but costly. Other way is through multiple small pricks in skin through different antigenic solutions which gives instant results, cheaper and scientifically more reliable.

Inhalers are not good and they are habit forming

As per current medical science, inhaled steroids are the mainstay in treatment of asthma. Inhaled steroids are the best because they provide minimum dose of medicine directly to target organ (lungs and airways) very fast without affecting other organs on a long term basis. Hence do not hesitate in using inhalers for your kids as they are the best and you will realize the benefits after using them.

Steroids are dangerous for children

Steroids are definitely dangerous provided they are used in high does for a longer time. Inhalers use the steroid dose in micrograms which is 1000 times less than oral medicines which are used in acute emergency. So instead of using oral steroids in acute asthma flare ups many times, it is better to use inhaled steroids daily to prevent acute flare-ups as well as improving quality of daily life.

One should not disclose the diagnosis of asthma to neighbours and other kids as it is a big social taboo

It is important that your child’s teachers, coaches, and school nurses know about his or her asthma. Make sure that your child has an “asthma action plan” and the proper inhalers at school. Ask your doctor to educate you and your child about asthma action plan to deal with acute wheezing symptoms.

Will my child outgrow of asthma

It is a universal question which is difficult for experts too. Asthma is a disease of airways which occurs as a result of complex interaction between genetic factors as well as environmental factors. By controlling environmental triggers , using inhalers properly one can very well control the disease. Most of patients with childhood asthma outgrow when they reach adolescence but at the onset it is difficult to predict which child will have persistent asthma. By regularly following up these kids, observing their response to medicines one can predict the phenomenon of outgrowing.

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