Childhood Asthma Essay

Submitted By tonypadilla3
Words: 1122
Pages: 5

In the Unites States, asthma has become more prevalent in children than in adults according to statistics. In 2006, 6.8 million children under the age of eighteen had asthma, 4.1 million of which had an asthma attack, and many had hidden or undiagnosed asthma. Asthma is a common chronic inflammatory condition of the respiratory system in which the airways constrict due to episodes of airway obstruction. This inflammation causes the normal function of the airways to become excessive and over reactive. In order to control this respiratory condition, the parents of asthmatic children should reduce asthma triggers; they should understand the signs and symptoms of asthma, monitor the asthma and take medications to treat it. Asthma attacks occur when the muscle around the bronchi goes into spasm, the bronchi narrow and breathing becomes difficult. Inflammation then swells the lining of the air tubes causing mucous blockage. Signs and symptoms of asthma in children include wheezing, coughing, chest pain, hyperinflation and less stamina during activities. Important signs and symptoms are coughing or wheezing getting worse with respiratory infections and delayed recovery or bronchitis after a respiratory infection. While wheezing is most commonly associated with asthma, not all children with asthma wheeze. A child may have only one sign or symptom and these symptoms may also vary from child to child. A child should be taken to the doctor as soon as possible if any asthmatic symptoms are present. An asthma attack may happen when there is exposure to asthma triggers. Episodes of asthma often are triggered by some condition or stimulus. Common triggers of asthma are exercise, infections, allergies, irritants, weather and emotions. Running can trigger an episode in 80 percent of children with asthma. Respiratory infections, including the flu, can trigger severe episodes. During an allergic reaction, chemicals, such as histamine, are released from specialized cells producing swelling mucus secretion and airway muscle contraction. The allergens involved in childhood asthma are common indoor inhalants such as dust mites, feathers, molds, pets, insects, outdoor inhalants or ingested foods. Foods are much less frequent causes of asthma. Daily exposure to these allergens may result in worsening of asthma. Cigarette smoke, air pollution, strong odors, sprays and fumes are some of the substances which irritate the tissues of the lungs and upper airways. The reaction produced by these irritants can be identical to those produced by allergens. Climate conditions are also trigger factors, many identify cold air as triggering asthma. Emotional factors are not the cause of asthma, though emotional stress can infrequently trigger asthma. Many children with asthma suffer from severe anxiety during an episode as a result of suffocation produced by asthma. Avoiding all of these triggers can reduce the chance of experiencing asthma attacks or symptoms. (1) Asthma in children can be controlled through many ways. The parents of these children can try to reduce the asthma triggers. They should also be able to understand the signs and symptoms of this chronic inflammatory condition. During running, bronchodilator meds taken before exercise can prevent most episodes. With control, most children can participate fully in physical activities. With the trigger of infection, antibiotics are of no benefit for viral infections and therefore may be of little value in an asthma episode. It is important for all children with asthma to get vaccinated for the flu each year. Bronchodilator medication, good hydration, and when indicated, corticosteroids are required to control an asthma episode triggered by viral infections. Irritants must be recognized and avoided. Asthmatic children should limit outdoor time on days with air quality warnings, while ozone levels are peaking in the afternoon and in areas near heavy traffic. An estimated 400 thousand to one million…