Asthma In Children: Everything You Need To Know

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Asthma In Children: Everything You Need To Know

The presence of childhood asthma leads to daily symptoms that can be bothersome, interfering with activities such as play, sports, school, and sleep. If left unmanaged, childhood asthma can even result in dangerous asthma attacks.

Asthma in children: What it is, causes, diagnosis and everything you need to know

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Childhood asthma is characterised by the easy inflammation of the lungs and airways when exposed to specific triggers. These triggers may include inhaling pollen or contracting a cold or respiratory infection. 

It's important to note that childhood asthma is not a distinct disease from asthma in adults. However, children face unique challenges in dealing with this condition. It is a significant factor contributing to emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and missed school days.

Regrettably, there is currently no cure for childhood asthma, and its symptoms may persist into adulthood. Nevertheless, with the appropriate treatment, you and your child can effectively control the symptoms and prevent any harm to the developing lungs.

What is childhood asthma?

Childhood asthma refers to a chronic lung disease that affects the airways, which are the tubes responsible for carrying air in and out of the lungs. When a child has asthma, their airways become inflamed and narrow, similar to a pinched straw. As a result, it becomes difficult for them to breathe, leading to symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, and chest tightness. These symptoms can be triggered or exacerbated by certain factors, potentially causing an asthma attack. These attacks can occur suddenly or progress gradually, and in severe cases, they may even pose a life-threatening risk.

While asthma can develop at any age, it frequently begins during childhood when the immune system is still in the process of development. Most children who experience asthma will display their first symptom before the age of 5. 

Factors contributing to the onset of childhood asthma

  • Genetics - A heightened likelihood of developing asthma exists when there is a family history of asthma or allergies.
  • Allergies - The presence of allergies can elevate the chances of a child developing asthma. Moreover, allergy symptoms can resemble those of asthma in children.
  • Infections - Frequent respiratory infections can contribute to the manifestation of asthma symptoms in children, particularly those below the age of 5.

Asthma triggers 

Asthmatic children often have specific "triggers" that can worsen their symptoms or lead to an asthma attack. These triggers include:

  • Respiratory infections like the typical cold or influenza
  • Physical activity, particularly in chilly, arid, or damp condition
  • Smoke and air pollution from sources such as tobacco, bonfires, and industrial pollution
  • Allergies, particularly to animals, dust mites, mould, and common allergens

Diagnosis for childhood asthma

Diagnosing asthma in children can present challenges, particularly when they struggle to communicate their symptoms effectively. Nevertheless, there are several diagnostic methods that pediatricians employ to narrow down a diagnosis.

  • Medical history review - A thorough examination of your child's medical history is crucial. The pediatrician will inquire about the symptoms your child has been experiencing, their duration, and any other previously diagnosed conditions.
  • Blood and allergy testing - When allergies are suspected, blood or skin tests can be conducted to identify inflammatory markers. Additionally, allergy testing may be employed to determine if asthma symptoms are triggered by specific allergens.
  • Chest X-ray - In some cases, a chest X-ray may be recommended by the doctor to rule out conditions other than asthma. This imaging technique can sometimes reveal changes in the airways caused by severe asthma.

Treatment options

Asthma cannot be cured, but various treatments aim to alleviate symptoms and prevent ongoing inflammation in the airways. Effective management of childhood asthma involves a combination of clinical and at-home treatments.

Clinical treatments

In some cases, lifestyle changes alone may not be sufficient, and medication becomes necessary to control asthma symptoms in children. Common asthma medications used in clinical settings include:

  • Bronchodilators - These medications help relax the airways and improve airflow. They are typically used as rescue therapies for quick relief during asthma attacks. Examples include short-acting beta agonists and anticholinergics.
  • Anti-inflammatories - These medications reduce airway inflammation and swelling. They are typically used as long-term asthma treatments to manage symptoms and minimise the need for rescue therapies. Corticosteroids are a commonly prescribed anti-inflammatory medication.

Home Remedies 

There are several measures you can take at home to alleviate asthma symptoms in your child.

  • Maintain humidity - Dry air can trigger asthma flare-ups. To mitigate this, use a humidifier in or near your child's room to keep the relative humidity between 30 and 50 percent. 
  • Breathing exercises - Teaching your child breathing exercises can be beneficial in preventing hyperventilation during asthma episodes. 
  • Essential oils - Some studies have suggested that diffusing essential oils might reduce airway inflammation. However, more research is necessary to establish the effectiveness of essential oils in reducing asthma symptoms. It's important to note that essential oils are not recommended for children with asthma, as their safety and potential side effects have not been extensively studied in this context.


Childhood asthma is a prevalent respiratory condition that affects numerous people globally. Diagnosing childhood asthma involves a thorough examination of the medical history and, if required, additional diagnostic tests. To effectively manage the symptoms, treatment options for asthma encompass both short-term and long-term medications, along with lifestyle adjustments. If your child has been displaying asthma symptoms, it is recommended to schedule a visit with their pediatrician for further evaluation and guidance.

Disclaimer: The above content is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a qualified physician or doctor. The Company does not vouch for or endorse any of the above content, and disclaims any and all warranties, express or implied, relating to the same.