Asthma (Childhood Asthma) is a chronic inflammation of airways in the lungs, leading to difficulty in breathing, coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. In children, the lungs and airways become easily inflamed when exposed to certain triggers like cold weather, pollen or any respiratory infection. Even crying, laughing, yelling or any strong emotional reaction and stress can trigger an
There are certain risk factors that make a child prone to get asthma. These include living in an area of high air pollution, a family history of allergies and asthma, prenatal and post-natal exposure to tobacco smoke, obesity and certain food allergies or skin allergies.
Childhood asthma can start at any age.
Symptoms of Childhood Asthma
The most common visible symptoms in children under the age of 5 during an asthma attack are
- Persistent coughing that could get worse if the child has any viral infection.
- Wheezing especially while exhaling air
- Shortness or loss of breath or rapid breathing
- The uncomfortable feeling in the chest. Tightened neck muscles
- Dark circles under eyes along with frequent headaches and loss of appetite.
The symptoms tend to worsen during the night or get triggered due to exercise or cold air. They may come and go in a pattern and become severe from being just mild symptoms. The symptoms are affected by season changes, especially when it becomes too cold and when allergy-causing agents are in the air like dust, pet dander or pollen.
The signs of childhood asthma lead to troubled sleep, which in turn leads to fatigue and less energy to play. In children under 5 years of age, the most common Asthma like symptom in upper respiratory viral infections.
There could be severe symptoms like gasping for air, trouble speaking and breathing very hard (using abdominal muscles, widened nostrils) In case of these symptoms it is advised to take the child to the doctor for proper treatment.
Manage Childhood Asthma Without Prescription Medication’s
Asthma can be managed using precautionary measure and careful planning. Childhood asthma is common, inhaled steroids are not an effective cure for it. Some of the tips to prevent and manage asthma are listed below
1. Identify the Triggers and Limit Their Exposure
It is important to identify what is causing or triggering the asthma symptoms in your child. Once identified, the parents should help their child avoid those allergens and irritants as much as possible. E.g. if one gets the asthma attack due to cold weather, it is advised to wrap a scarf around the face to warm the air before one breathes in and breathe out through the nose whenever possible.
2. Keeping the House and Surroundings Clean
It is possible to avoid asthmatic attack by cleaning the house thoroughly and also the surroundings free from dust and pet dander. Keep the windows closed to avoid pollen. Change the cleaning products that may trigger the attack. A child definitely needs to be exposed to common bacteria and viral infections, so that his immune system develops properly and this prevents asthma naturally.
3. Steam Baths
Steam baths help to relieve asthma symptoms as they provide moisture to the airways.
4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil’s
A few drops of Eucalyptus oil may be added to an oil diffuser or humidifier and let the child sit next to it. One may boil some water and add some eucalyptus oil to it and breathe in the vapor.
Natural herbs are a safe and effective treatment for childhood asthma. Herbs enhance the overall immunity of the child and reduce the frequency of attacks. Certain herbs like garlic, ginger, turmeric, echinacea, and licorice root may be included in the child’s diet (in the meals in any form). All these herbs have anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve the asthma symptoms naturally over time.
The oldest and safest way to deal with childhood asthma is the use of Honey. Honey soothes the irritated throat and calms down a cough. It is used in various cough medicines.
Butterbur or Petasites Hybridus is a perennial shrub that helps to treat coughs, asthma and skin wounds. It contains a compound that helps reduce symptoms of asthma by inhibiting leukotrienes and histamines.
8. Mustard Seed Oil Massage
Massage a mixture of warm mustard oil and salt on the chest of the child several times a day to help relieve symptoms.
9. Omega 3 Fatty Acid’s
To decrease airway inflammation and boost the lung function, it is necessary to include Omega 3 fatty acids in the children’s diet. Krill oil is a great source of Omega 3 fatty acids. It is also advised to reduce Omega 6 fatty acid intake as it might cause inflammation that could lead to asthma.
10. Vitamin D
Do not smoke around the child as exposure to tobacco smoke during infancy and afterwards triggers an asthma attack. Always encourage the child to be physically active and maintain a healthy weight gain. Being in the fresh air is crucial for asthmatic patients. Exercise also helps to moderate insulin levels in the body. A healthy diet is needed for the children so they do not go through acid reflux at that young age. Heartburn may worsen a child’s asthma symptoms. Get the child an early flu vaccine as kids with asthma getting flu makes it worse for them.
Asthma has no cure as such, but it can be managed effectively. It can be controlled so well that flare ups are rare. uncontrolled or untreated asthma in children may result in permanent lung damage. The attacks can be very serious very quickly and may come on suddenly. It is important to be prepared all the time.