7 Steps To Control Childhood Asthma
Asthma is the most common chronic (long-term) childhood disease. In America about nine million children are diagnosed with asthma. Up to ten per cent of children in Europe are also suffering from asthma symptoms. Unfortunately parents of these children are often uninformed about the various ways to control childhood asthma.
If you suspect your child has asthma the first priority is correct diagnosis. However, be aware that symptoms can vary from episode to episode and not all wheezing and coughing is caused by asthma. Asthma-like symptoms in children younger than five are usually due to a virus or bacterial infection of the airways. However if your child is experiencing breathing difficulties it is best to get them to a doctor whatever the cause.
About 80 percent of children who develop asthma do so before the age of five. Studies show that children living in rural areas have lower rates of asthma than those who live in cities, particularly if they spent their first five years in a rural area. For children living in inner cities the cockroach allergen seems to worsen asthma symptoms more than dust mite or pet allergens. Therefore another important step in the control of your child's asthma is to ensure that general cleaning and maintenance routines are followed to ensure cockroaches are not encouraged into the home. Levels of cockroach allergens have been found to be highest in high-rise apartments.
Another factor that has been linked to the development of asthma in children is exposure to smoke. A study in Norway showed that almost 10 percent of adult asthma patients had experienced passive smoking during early childhood. Therefore another step to take at home is to ensure that your child is not exposed to tobacco smoke.
If your doctor recommends the use of medication the next step is to encourage your child to take the medicine. Asthma is one of the main causes for emergency room visits by children. Yet studies have shown that up to half of these hospitalizations may be preventable if children, particularly teenagers, followed their medication schedule correctly, avoided their asthma triggers and made regular visits to the doctor.
Perhaps fear of side effects or dependency, or an impression that it is uncool to be seen taking medicines is preventing children taking their medication as regularly as they should. Perhaps intermittent asthma symptoms persuade children and their parents that it is not important to take medication if there are no symptoms. This is a mistake. Even when there are no obvious symptoms an asthmatic's lungs will be inflamed to some degree.