How is asthma in children different?

When a child is diagnosed with asthma, the parent is faced with an array of questions – Why my child? Will my child grow up normally? Will my child be able to play his/her favourite sports?

But there’s no need to worry about asthma. With a thorough understanding of the problem, symptoms, triggers and treatments, it’s extremely easy to keep your child’s asthma under control, so your child can lead a healthy and normal life.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), asthma is the most common breathing problem among children around the world. Millions of children have asthma and manage it well. So, you are not alone.

Contrary to popular belief, asthma in children is not the same as asthma in adults. While adults show some of the typical symptoms such as breathlessness, wheezing, coughing and chest tightness, children may not show the same kind of symptoms. Most asthmatic children will have cough as the prominent symptom. A persistent cough (one that lasts for more than 3-4 weeks) could be an indicator of asthma in children.

It is important to remember that with the correct treatment and management, it is possible to control asthma completely, which means your child can do everything a child wants to do.

Asthma is manageable so you don’t have to worry about your child’s asthma and growth.

There are certain things you need to pay attention to, if your child has asthma -

  • Identify your child’s asthma triggers and avoid them.

  • Consult your child’s paediatrician on how to manage your child’s symptoms.

  • Follow the asthma action plan created for your child.

  • Learn and teach your child how to use the inhalers and other medications correctly.

  • Label the Controller and Reliever inhalers, so that there is no confusion.

  • Ensure that your child always carries his/her Reliever inhaler, no matter where he/she goes – school, park and other trips.

  • Explain asthma to your child in an easy way, so he/she can understand it. It will also help if you explain how the inhalers help him/her and how he/she can avoid emergencies related to asthma.

  • In case of an asthma attack, the first thing you need to do is stay calm and reassure your child that everything is going to be okay. While doing this, follow the asthma emergency instructions to help your child through the attack.

  • Inform family, caregivers and school about your child's asthma, share the asthma action plan with them and don’t forget to give them your emergency contact information

  • The most important thing to do though, is to not stop your child from being a kid. If your child wants to dance, play sports, swim or practice martial arts, let his/her. Just because your child has asthma, doesn’t mean he/she can’t have a fun-filled childhood.