5 Must-Know Facts About Asthma

Nurse Noemi wants to share some information regarding asthma… Look for helpful health updates regularly!

  • You may not always be able to tell when your child has asthma.

There are some classic signs associated with asthma, which are shortness of breath and wheezing. Some children only have a continuous cough that gets worse at night. Although asthma symptoms usually appear before the age of 5, they are often mistaken for a respiratory illness such as the common cold, reflux, croup, or bronchitis. Another diagnostic challenge is that episodes can be sporadic. To get diagnosed, your child’s pediatrician may refer you to an asthma specialist. That doctor may conduct a breathing test called spirometry, which measures how much air is coming in and out of your child’s lungs. Your child’s medical history as well and family history of asthma and allergies, all factor into a diagnosis.

  • Allergies can play a role. 

Allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, mold, and pollen, often trigger asthma attacks. Up to 80 percent of children with asthma also suffer from allergies. Environmental allergens such as blooming trees, grass, weeds, and flowers typically are the blame, but up to 70 percent of children with eczema will develop the disease. Although it is rare, some food allergens have been known to trigger asthmatic episodes.

  • Gender as well as genetics increase your child’s risk of asthma.

Experts are not sure why some children develop asthma, but there is a 30 percent chance that your child will develop asthma if one parent has the condition. If both parents have the disease, it more than double the chances to 70 percent. Also, more boys than girls are diagnosed with asthma.

  • Asthma is a lifelong condition.

Asthma is a chronic condition that never really goes away. There is a possibility of an asthma episode even if the symptoms subside. Studies found that as many as 1 in 5 children may go into remission, meaning no wheezing or need for an inhaler, by the age of 19. Experts aren’t sure why, but remission is less likely in kids that develop allergies to certain pets such as cats, dogs, and horses as well as birch trees by the age of 8.

  • Back-to-school time can mean trouble.

More than 80 percent of asthma attacks in children are caused by viral infections, such as colds and influenza (flu). A child’s chances of catching a virus increase more when he or she is around sneezing and coughing classmates. Up to a quarter of all children that are hospitalized for asthma attacks are admitted in September. This phenomenon is known as the “September epidemic.” Your child’s physician should provide the school with an asthma action plan that will cover the medications that need to be kept at school, a list of things that trigger or worsen your child’s asthma, and a list of emergency contacts.

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