How Many Kids Get It?
Kids Asthma among school age kids will affect 1 or 2 in 10 . Which means that over 6 million kids in the US will have it. I amazed that this disease is as common as that among our kids. While anyone from baby to adult can have asthma, it is very common among school age kids.
While the jury is out on what ultimately causes kids asthma, it is very likely something that runs in the family. A parent, uncle, sibling or any other relative is very likely to have it in a family with a child who has asthma.
This is not a contagious disease but the symptoms can very closely resemble that of a cold with the coughing and wheezing that comes on.
So What is it?
First let's run down how air flows into our bodies. Air enters through the mouth or nose and enters into the trachea or windpipe. This leads down to the lungs where the trachea branches out into "breathing tubes" or bronchial tubes. These tubes feed in the oxygen we inhale and expel the carbon dioxide we breath out.
Kids asthma makes a child's airways very sensitive. When their asthma flares up their airway becomes swollen and narrows. This narrowing makes it harder to get fresh oxygen into their lungs and getting the carbon dioxide out. This can also be complicated further because the swollen "pipes" will produce mucus making things sticky.
Always have your child checked by a physician so that they get the proper medication. Almost always the airways will return to their normal state after a flare up episode.
What Sets An Attack In Motion?
Just as each child is unique so are the different elements that will set off an asthma attack. Some times its the household pet. Their dander (think dandruff) can be very irritating for a child's airway. I have a friend that when she gets too close to horses she will basically go into respiratory seizure. More often than now she ends up with an ambulance trip and a couple of days in the hospital. Her trip to Medieval Times ended in one such trip even though they were in the very back of the restaurant. (If you not familiar with Medieval Times its a theme restaurant where Knights duel and joust. The latter requires horses.)
Some kids are sensitive to dust, dust mites, mold and pollens.
Other times an infection can be the reason for the flare-up for a kids asthma. An asthmatic kid's airways can become more sensitive than usual when they come down with a cold or the flu.
The most obvious form of treatment is avoidance. But that's not always realistic unless your kid lives in a plastic bubble. Some of the most common triggers like pets, colds, and where applicable chalk dust (most schools now use dry erase boards)can not be avoided. If your child is very sensitive you should make sure that they have medication on them at all times.
Not all treatments are the same. Doctors will evaluate what causes your child's particular flare-up, how fast it comes on, and how serious they are. From this information the doctor will decide the appropriate medication.
For kids that only need to take medication once in a while when they have a flare-up, there is a "rescue medicine" they can use since it works fast to open up their airways. For kids that require daily regimes there are "controller medicines". These help to keep flare-ups from happening.
If you or your child knows that they'll be in an environment that could possible trigger a reaction they should take some medication ahead of time to open up their airways. This is very true for those kids with sports or exercise induced asthma. When taken in advance it will allow them to play to the end of the game.
Most asthma medicines are taken via an inhaler. Most movies seem to think that only the "nerdy" kids need them but that's not always the case. The mist released from these inhalers helps to relax the tissues in the airways so your child can breathe easier.
Another way to help ease the flare-ups of an asthma attack would be to give your child a regular dosage of a high grade multi-vitamin and mineral supplement along with a high quality grape seed extract. The latter is a natural anti-inflammatory that can ease the swelling of the airways from an asthmatic flare-up.
Is this for Life?
Luckily for some kids their asthma goes away or becomes much less serious as they travel towards adulthood. The most common belief with doctors is that as children become adults they get bigger so the associated swelling from an asthma attack is less bothersome than before in their youth.
Still, some adults still do have asthma. The encouraging side to this is that there are many Olympic athletes and other sports stars that manage their asthma and not the other way around. Don't let it slow your kids down.