According to the AAFA, one in twelve children suffers from asthma. With this condition affecting so many of our families, you might ask what is causing such widespread diagnoses. Although there are still many unknowns about the development of asthma, we still know some of the elements of why a child may develop asthma.
Things That Cause Asthma in Children
How do children get asthma? Things can contribute to childhood asthma include the following.
Genes are inherited “units” that are passed from a parent to their child. These units can be eye color or blood type, but they can also be health conditions that you or your close family may suffer from. It is found that children with one or both parents suffering from asthma increase their risk of developing it. It is important to know your family health history to see if this could be an increased factor for your child developing asthma. By being informed of this history, it can help you develop a plan if you think your child has asthma.
Allergic asthma is one of the most common forms of childhood asthma. This is caused by allergens. Allergens are particles in the air that adversely affect the immune system. The immune system cannot identify these particles and releases antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE). Allergies are then triggered when too much IgE causes the airways in the lungs to swell. The result is often symptoms of asthma such as shortness of breath. These allergens can trigger already diagnosed asthma, but exposure over time can also increase the chances of developing asthma. Common allergens include pet dander, mold, pollen, and dust mites. You must keep your home free from these irritants.
3. Respiratory Infections
Not all respiratory infections cause asthma in children, but there is evidence that certain ones may indeed increase the risk of later development. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common virus that develops in the lungs. Signs and symptoms of RSV are similar to that of a cold: congestion, runny nose, fever, and sore throat. It is so common that most infants under the age of two have contracted it at some point.
For some children, they may develop a severe case of RSV in which they may wheeze and struggle to breathe resulting in poor lung function. A study done by the Journal of Infectious Disease shows that if a child contracts a severe case of RSV before they turn a year old they have a higher risk of developing asthma later on.
Air pollution has long been linked to serious breathing and lung problems. Children exposed to pollution have been found to have a higher risk of developing asthma. Smog, smoke, soot, and gases in the air are all different pollutants.
Typically, you may think of pollution being outdoors, but indoor air pollution can also cause asthma. Gas stoves are a common indoor pollutant. They generate nitrogen dioxide (No2), which causes inflammation of the lungs. Another type of indoor pollution is second-hand smoke. There are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke with over 70 that cause serious health issues.
Tobacco smoke poses a danger for all who exposed to it, but children suffer even greater risk. If your child is around second-hand smoke, you need to make sure that they have as little exposure as possible. If you are a current smoker quitting is the best option. Ask smoking family members or guests not to smoke near your children.
How Can Children Control Their Asthma?
There is no cure for asthma but you an control their asthma by paying close attention to the following factors.
The adage says that “knowledge is power,” and that couldn’t be more true in regards to asthma control. Educate yourself and your child on what symptoms and triggers look like. Talk to your doctor about different types of asthma medications and products that will aid in asthma control and management.
2. Asthma Action Plan
An asthma action plan is a written plan that includes your child’s personal information, asthma triggers, medication information, and when to seek medical attention. It is important for your child to know this plan and to have it on them while attending school or extracurricular activities.
3. Spirometry Exam
A spirometry exam determines how well the lungs are functioning in an individual. By forcing as much air from the lungs as possible, this device measures the air expelled during the first second. This is an important exam as it measures how your child’s lungs are functioning. These exams are typically given at a doctor’s office, but with Aluna, your child can take this exam at home.