There is no known cause of asthma, but several factors may play a part to lead you to the disease. Researchers have identified quite a few risk factors for developing childhood asthma. These include nasal allergies or hay fever, frequent respiratory infections, low birth weight, being exposed to tobacco smoke before and after birth, black or Puerto-Rican ethnicity, and being raised in a low-income environment.
The biggest risk factor, however, is hereditary. If either parent suffers from asthma, chances are at least one of your children will develop asthma.
"The Hygiene Hypothesis Theory provides some explanations for the dramatic rise of childhood asthma. According to the theory, over the past 20 years, the western lifestyle has changed rapidly, and the living condition has become more hygienic and sanitized. The use of antibiotics, vaccines and cleanlier lifestyle has created a germ-free environment, which eventually preventing the spreading of disease and infections. As a result, most of the young children are not exposed to infections as children exposed in the past. The immune systems of these children are, therefore, not getting the early “Kick Start” to fight against bacteria or viral infections. This leads to increased sensitivity and overreaction of the immune system when facing allergens or airborne irritants. Although there is still limited evidence to support this theory, but many researchers agree that this can be one of the major reasons for increasing atopic conditions or asthma."
Asthma is described as a chronic inflammatory disease of the airway. The most common symptoms are shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing. Each person develops asthma differently and will have variations in their symptoms. There is no cure for asthma; however, there are treatments to help manage the symptoms. The treatments can help you reduce symptoms from day to day.
Asthma may begin at any age, but it often occurs in childhood. In most cases, symptoms of childhood asthma arise around the age five. Although the symptoms of asthma in children aren’t dissimilar as compared to adults, but children face some unique challenges.
Your child may display a variation of symptoms to let you know something is wrong. If you see these signs in your chld, a doctor's visit is warranted. You should bring your child to a doctor to see if asthma is a possibility.
- Frequent coughing spells - these can happen day or night;
- A chronic cough, which can cause your child to exhibit less energy, especially during daytime;
- Presence of intermittent or rapid breathing;
- Complains of tightness in the chest, or has complaints of their chest hurting;
- A whistling sound while breathing;
- See-saw motions in the chest, which is typically present during labored breathing;
- Shortness of breath or loss of breath, or a tightening feeling in the neck and/or chest muscles; Or
- Feels weak or tired regularly.
Medications are typically given to treat asthma. If your child is too young to use an inhaler, they will be given oral medications that help to open the airways. Inhalers for older children may include a medication such as Advair. A rescue inhaler may also be given for emergencies that need to be treated right away.