Asthma in kids is a common condition affecting over a million children in the United States annually. KidsStreet Urgent Care is here to educate you on the causes, risks, treatment, and prevention of this condition.
If you believe this is a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately.
What Is Asthma In Kids?
Asthma is a condition that causes the bronchi in the lungs to spasm, resulting in difficulty breathing. This condition can be caused by a number of things, namely allergens or sensitivity to things in the air.
Asthma in children is no different than asthma in adults; however, the condition may be amplified due to their developing lungs.
Symptoms Of Asthma In Children
Sometimes children with asthma will not suffer from asthma attacks, but this does not mean they do not have the condition. Aside from asthma attacks, childhood asthma is characterized by a few unique symptoms. The most common symptoms of asthma include:
- Trouble breathing
- Tight chest
- Whistling or wheezing sound when breathing
- Persistent cough, especially when lying down
- Fast breathing
- Colds that settle in the chest
It is essential to know these symptoms if you have young children that cannot communicate their feelings. KidsStreet Urgent Care offers asthma symptom treatment in our urgent care services for kids.
What Are The Risks Of Developing Childhood Asthma?
Although the causes of asthma in children are not fully understood, there are various risk factors associated with asthma development.
The largest risk factor of your child developing asthma is if it is prevalent in your family history. Asthma is hereditary, meaning your child may also have it if you or other family members have it, your child may also have it. If you know of anyone in your family with the condition, let your child’s provider know.
Other risks of your child developing asthma include:
- Living in an area with high pollution
- Frequent exposure to tobacco smoke, especially if before birth
- Previous allergic reactions
- Frequent respiratory conditions (colds, pneumonia, etc.)
Additionally, male children are at a higher risk of developing asthma than female children.
The Complications Of Asthma In Children
Asthma can have a few different complications, all of which are very uncomfortable for your child. These complications could also be serious if asthma is not diagnosed and treated. Most commonly, complications for children with asthma will include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Asthma attacks
- Permanent lung damage
Additionally, asthma can cause your child to miss school and fall behind on schoolwork. This can also make them miss out on sports activities due to not being able to breathe properly.
What Is An Asthma Attack?
Asthma attacks can be scary for children and parents, as they happen fairly suddenly. Generally, children will suffer from an asthma attack when exposed to an allergen in the air and will begin to have difficulty breathing.
During an attack, the tubes that carry oxygen to the lungs become inflamed, causing the creation of excess mucus. This is what makes breathing difficult. Symptoms of an asthma attack consist of:
- Sudden labored breathing
- Tight chest
- Shortness of breath
If your child is suffering from a severe asthma attack, call 911 or visit the emergency department immediately.
Triggers Of Asthma Attacks
Asthma attacks are typically provoked by exposure to some kind of airborne allergen. A few of the most common triggers for asthma attacks include:
- Air pollution
- Dust mites
- Tobacco smoke
- Pet dander
When your child has an asthma attack, make note of any possible triggers that could have caused this. These triggers will help your child’s provider understand the scope and causes of attacks and help you avoid them.
Preventing Asthma Attacks
If your child’s asthma causes them to have frequent asthma attacks, it is wise to look into prevention. Some of the best ways to prevent asthma attacks consist of:
- Limiting exposure to asthma triggers
- Encourage your child to be active to support healthy lung function
- Don’t smoke, and don’t allow anyone else to smoke around your child
- Regularly visit your child’s provider
Not all asthma attacks are preventable, but knowing the triggers and early onset of one can make a significant difference in your child’s quality of life.
Developing An Asthma Action Plan
Asthma action plans detail the characteristics about your child’s asthma to manage it better. This plan is developed with their healthcare provider, and usually consists of the following:
- Medications your child uses
- Triggers for asthma attacks
- Asthma attack management
This plan should be given to anyone who cares for your child, especially their school nurse. It will help manage your child and their symptoms in the event that they have an asthmatic episode while you are not around.
If you do not already have one of these plans, talk to your child’s provider about setting one up.
How Is Asthma In Children Diagnosed?
To diagnose asthma, the provider will have the child blow very hard into a tube. This will measure the tubes that carry air to their lungs for reduced airflow. If the airflow is poor, it is likely the child has asthma.
Diagnosing asthma in kids can be difficult, especially if your child is preschool aged or younger. Older children are much easier to diagnose due to them having more developed lungs.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Although not curable, asthma in kids is very treatable. A few asthma medicines are available, and it may take time to understand which one works best for your child. The most popular asthma treatment medications include:
- Quick-relief medicines (inhalers, etc.)
- Long-term medications taken daily
Turn to KidsStreet Urgent Care
Does your child struggle with asthma? KidsStreet Urgent Care is here to help them heal and feel better, fast!
To visit one of our clinics, register online. You can wait from your home or vehicle until we are ready to see you. We’ll text you when it’s time to head to the clinic.
Walk-ins are always welcome, but please be aware that registering online reduces in-clinic wait times. Walk-ins are added to the same queue as those who register online.