Well-developed symptoms of asthma can begin at an early age, even before the age of 5. Early diagnosis is important for asthma in children under 5, so that occasional flare-ups can be managed easily.
Symptoms of Asthma in Children Under 5
Toddlers are likely to show common signs of asthma including:
- Difficulty in breathing
- Coughing that gets worse at night
- Recurrence of bronchitis
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath during feeding is observed among infants.
- There is less interest in running around because they easily run out of breath.
- Colds last longer than it should be.
- Tightened muscles in the neck and chest
- Loss of appetite
- Frequent headaches
Diagnosis of Asthma in Children Under Five Years
- It is difficult to diagnose asthma in young children because the symptoms mentioned previously also appear in other non-asthma conditions.
- Older children undergo lung function tests like peak flow measurement or spirometry.
- The child’s airways are checked for inflammation using nitric oxide gas in the breath.
- If asthma symptoms are severe, doctors may direct the family to a specialist.
- Right dosage and type of medication is needed to control the signs of asthma.
- Long-term medications, such as the following, are given to children.
- Inhaled corticosteroids to prevent inflammation
- Leukotriene modifiers as support medication to corticosteroids
- Cromolyn for moderate asthma attacks
- Bronchodilators to relax the airway muscles
- Combination inhalers
- Asthma patients can benefit from immunotherapy or allergy desensitization shots.
- Devices such as nebulizer, metered dose inhaler and dry powder inhaler are used by patients.
- Parents may keep a track record of their child’s treatment program, in order to measure the progress and the response to the medication.
Preventive Measures to Control Asthma
Control possible asthma attacks through these tips.
- Keep the house from dust mites or pollen
- Let the child exercise regularly.
- Protect the child from cold weather.
- Ensure a smoke-free environment.
- Asthma in children is more likely to occur in boys than girls, due to the size of the male’s airways, which is smaller than a female’s.
- Family history dictates the risk for asthma.
- A hyperreactive airway is liable for asthma.
- Allergic hypersensitivity may trigger asthma, especially through contact with allergens.
- Obesity is also a factor for developing asthma.