health care  
 
All about asthma types of asthma bronchial asthma exercise induced asthma adult-onset asthma status asthmaticus causes of asthma asthma triggers asthma and allergy asthma attack asthma in children asthma and pregnancy asthma in adults and older people complications of asthma symptoms of asthma warning signs of asthma asthma diagnosis asthma treatments asthma relief (rescue) medications asthma long-term control medications asthma inhalers asthma nebulizers control acute asthma attacks management of chronic asthma symptoms asthma relievers asthma preventers childhood asthma cures treatment for asthma in the elderly asthma prevention

What's the treatment for childhood asthma?

The goals of asthma therapy are to prevent your child from having chronic and troublesome symptoms, to maintain your child's lung function as close to normal as possible, to allow your child to maintain normal physical activity levels (including exercise), to prevent recurrent asthma attacks and to reduce the need for emergency department visits or hospitalizations,

and to provide medicines to your child that give the best results with the fewest side effects.

Children use the same types of medications for asthma as adults do. The amount and type of medication your child will need depends on the severity of the asthma. For mild intermittent cases, your doctor may prescribe only a bronchodilator — a medication that helps breathing by relaxing the tight ring of muscle around the airways — for quick relief as soon as symptoms begin. More frequent or persistent cases will require daily medication to reduce the swelling of the linings of the airways and to prevent attacks.

It is important to be alert to the child's symptoms, and start or increase treatment at the first sign of worsening asthma. In course of time, each child learns his or her particular triggers, and learns also to avoid them. The child must herself learn to identify the early signs of an acute attack. Many attacks can be stopped by starting treatment quickly. A peak flow meter is a great help in the home monitoring of asthma. It can warn of an impending attack even before symptoms start. Children over the age of four years are usually able to use one.

Children with mild asthma (infrequent attacks) may use relief medication as needed. Those with persistent asthma should take control medications on a regular basis to prevent symptoms from occuring. A severe asthma attack requires a medical evaluation and may require hospitalization, oxygen, and intravenous medications. Although these are the same medications used to treat adults, there are different inhalers and dosages especially for children. In fact, children often use a nebulizer to take their medicine rather than an inhaler, because it can be difficult for them to use an inhaler properly.

Families play a very important role in the control of asthma by helping get rid of the indoor triggers that worsen asthma. For example, it is extremely important to eliminate tobacco smoke from the home. This is the single most important thing that a family can do to help a child with asthma. Just having people smoke "not in the house" is not enough, as family members and visitors can bring residual smoke in on their clothes and in their hair.

Keeping low levels of humidity and fixing leaks can reduce growth of organisms such as molds. Exposure to cockroaches can be reduced by cleaning and by keeping food in containers and out of bedrooms. Bedding can be covered with "allergy proof" polyurethane-coated casings to reduce exposure to dust mites. Detergents and cleaning agents in the home should be unscented.

All of these efforts can make a significant difference to the child with asthma, even though it may not be obvious right away. Your allergist can assist you with a plan for reducing the asthma triggers in your home.

A peak flow meter, a simple device to measure lung volume, can be used at home to help you "see an attack coming" and take the appropriate action, sometimes even before any symptoms appear. If you are not monitoring asthma on a regular basis, an attack can take you by surprise. Peak flow measurements can help show when medication is needed, or other action needs to be taken. Peak flow values of 50-80% of the child's personal best indicate a moderate asthma attack, while values below 50% indicate a severe attack.

Many children under age 5 can't use a peak flow meter well enough to make the numbers useful, so their asthma must be managed by an adult who needs to watch carefully for the asthma signs. The age 5 "cutoff" is somewhat arbitrary, however, and can be adjusted based on the abilities of the individual child. It's a good idea to start using peak flow meters before age 5 to get the child used to them, but not to actually rely on them too much for monitoring the child's condition.

There is no fool-proof method to prevent asthma attacks. The best way to minimize the number of attacks is to follow the asthma plan that you develop with your doctor and to eliminate triggers (especially cigarette smoke) as discussed above. When families take control of their home environment, asthma symptoms and exacerbations can be significantly decreased.

When a child begins to get symptoms, a severe attack can be prevented by a quick response. An asthma action plan can tell a family exactly what to do when symptoms start to increase. Following an asthma action plan can prevent severe exacerbations that otherwise might result in hospitalization.

More information on asthma

What is asthma? - Asthma is a chronic inflammatory respiratory disease characterized by periodic attacks of wheezing, shortness of breath, and a tight feeling in the chest.
What types of asthma are there? - Types of asthma include child-onset asthma, adult-onset asthma, exercise-induced asthma, cough-variant asthma, occupational asthma, nocturnal asthma.
What's bronchial asthma? - Bronchial asthma is a disease of the lungs in which an obstructive ventilation disturbance of the respiratory passages evokes a feeling of shortness of breath.
What is exercise-induced asthma? - Exercise-induced asthma is a form of asthma that some people have during or after physical activity. Exercise-induced asthma is common.
What is adult-onset asthma? - Adult onset asthma generally is the onset of asthma for the first time in someone of middle age or older. Adult-onset asthma develops after age 20.
What is status asthmaticus? - Status asthmaticus is a severe asthma episode that does not respond to standard treatment. Status asthmaticus is caused by severe bronchospasm.
What causes asthma? - Asthma is caused by inhaling an allergen that sets off the chain of biochemical and tissue changes leading to airway inflammation, bronchoconstriction, and wheezing.
What're the asthma triggers? - Many risk factors have been linked to triggering asthma attacks. There are two basic types of asthma triggers, allergic triggers, non-allergic triggers.
Asthma and allergy - Asthma attacks (worsening of asthma symptoms) can be triggered by allergies. Allergy is the leading cause of asthma.
What is an asthma attack? - An asthma attack occurs when the small and medium-sized airways become inflamed and constricted after being exposed to a trigger.
Asthma in children - Asthma is the most common chronic condition of childhood. Asthma symptoms can interfere with many school activities for children.
Asthma and pregnancy - During pregnancy, asthma or asthma episodes will become worse for an estimated one-third of pregnant women, particularly women who have severe asthma.
Asthma in adults and older people - Identifying asthma in the elderly can be difficult because asthma symptoms can be confused with symptoms of heart or lung diseases.
What're the complications of asthma? - Uncontrolled asthma in pregnant women puts them at higher risk for complications that can include early labor, hypertension, gestational diabetes.
What are the symptoms of asthma? - The symptoms of asthma include labored breathing, constriction of the chest, coughing and gasping usually brought on by allergies.
What're the warning signs of asthma? - Most people with asthma have warning signs before symptoms appear. There are many warning signs of an asthma episode.
How is asthma diagnosed? - The diagnosis of asthma is made on the basis of typical symptoms and signs. Positive allergy tests support a diagnosis of asthma.
What're the treatments for asthma? - Treatment of asthma is aimed at avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants and controlling symptoms and airway inflammation through medication.
What quick relief (rescue) medications cure asthma? - Short-acting beta-agonists are the most commonly used asthma rescue medications. Anticholinergics are another class of asthma drugs.
Long-term asthma control medications - Combinations of steroids and other medications are effective for both treating and preventing asthma attacks in patients with moderate to severe asthma.
What're asthma inhalers? - Most asthma drugs are inhaled using special devices or nebulizers. Two common types include dry powder asthma inhalers and metered-dose asthma inhalers.
What're asthma nebulizers? - Asthma nebulizers can be used with all classes of inhaled medications but are most commonly used with short-acting beta2 agonists and ipratropium bromide.
How to control acute asthma attacks? - Acute asthma is an acute exacerbation of wheezing, unresponsive to usually effective therapy and necessitating care in an emergency room or hospital ward.
How to manage chronic asthma symptoms? - The aims of management are to recognize asthma, to abolish symptoms, to restore normal or best possible long term airway function.
What asthma relievers are available? - Asthma reliever is a drug that provides relief from asthma symptoms and is the most commonly used asthma medication.
What asthma preventers are available? - Asthma preventers are to be used twice a day regardless of whether your child has symptoms of asthma.
What's the treatment for childhood asthma? - The goals of asthma therapy are to prevent child from having chronic and troublesome symptoms, to maintain child's lung function.
What's the treatment for asthma in the elderly? - Diagnosis and treatment of asthma can be more complicated in people age 65 and older than in those who are younger.
What can be done to prevent asthma? - Avoiding known allergens and respiratory irritants can reduce asthma symptoms. People with asthma should minimize risk for respiratory tract infections.
Respiratory & lung diseases Mainpage

Topics in respiratory and lung diseases

Lung diseases
Occupational lung diseases
Asthma
Respiratory infections
Respiration disorders
Broncheal diseases
Pleural diseases
Lung transplant
 

Featured articles on respiratory and lung diseases

COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Emphysema
Asbestosis
Lung cancer
Mesothelioma
Silicosis
Pulmonary hypertension
Cystic fibrosis
Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)
Influenza
Bronchitis
Pneumonia


All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005, health-cares.net, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005