STOP for Asthma

The World Asthma day is celebrated on 7th of May every year, and this year the theme is “STOP for Asthma”. Where STOP means: S – Symptom Evaluation T – Test Response O – Observe and Assess P – Proceed to Adjust Treatment Many parents of children suffering from asthma end up with poorly controlled asthma due to myths and many doubts that are often not addressed in busy clinics and hospitals due to lack of time. We are addressing some of the issues which are frequently asked by many parents: What is Asthma? Asthma is a disease of the airways in the lungs, wherein the airways become swollen, narrow and sensitive to irritants, which leads to recurrent attacks of cough, breathlessness, noisy breathing and chest discomfort. The number of cases has been increasing considering the changes in lifestyle and environment. Diagnosis of asthma in children under age 5 can be challenging as the symptoms may indicate other conditions. With older children, Pulmonary function tests that measure how well the lungs work can be done. Why do children suffer from Asthma? Children who have inherited a genetic predisposition, and exposed to inducers in the environment develop inflammation of airways, the hallmark of asthma. The most common trigger of asthma in children is cold, apart from dust, pollen, smoke and other irritants including air pollutants. How can we recognize if my child is at higher risk of Asthma? A family history of allergy and asthma is a predominant risk factor. If one parent has allergies or asthma, the risk of the child developing asthma is approximately 50%, while if both...

World Asthma Day- Facts, Diagnosis and Treatment

Facts of asthma!! Meet Miss Sunitha, a 24 year old IT professional from Kerala, currently working in Bangalore. She had been hail and healthy apart from a ‘mild dust allergy’ till she started working at the Garden city. In here, she was having frequent attacks of cold, sneezing running nose and cough. It had made her skip her office days and sometimes even invited doubtful stares from colleagues especially after a bout of a cough. Of course, she had self-medicated with cough syrups and home remedies. Nothing provided any relief more than for a day. She decided to consult a doctor. She was asked to do some tests and was given a diagnosis of bronchial asthma with allergic rhinitis. She was on the verge of a breakdown hearing the diagnosis. To add to the agony, the prescription included an inhaler (the one which terminally ill wheezing people are seen pumping into their mouth in the movies commonly known as ‘pump of puff’). She doubted the diagnosis as she did not have wheezing or breathlessness like asthma patients. Anyways she decided to give it a try because her symptoms were troubling her. Fortunately, medicines relieved her of the symptoms within a week. By this time she had come across a lot of comments about her disease and treatment like “Oh she is an asthmatic” “ Do you know that once you start on these medicines, you will have to use it forever?” “Hey, these medicines are steroids which will produce serious side effects” “ inhalers are addictive”…etc. She decided to clear her doubts with her doctor and here it goes:-...

Asthma: Symptom Triggers & Action Plans to Control

Since Asthma is not a disease but a condition, the triggers cannot be cured. It is imperative to practice preventive measures every day even if the symptoms are not exhibited. Below are the few points that you need to keep in mind as a parent: Get to know about the triggers: Asthma triggers are not the same for all and need to be identified at the earliest. Take the help of your doctor to identify these. A few triggering factors of asthma are pet hair, dust, pollen grains, non-allergic irritants such as perfumes, etc.  Prepare Asthma Action Plan: An Asthma Action Plan is a strategic plan written for managing Asthma. It shows the daily treatment which needs to be administered to your kid along with dosage details. It also elaborates the ways to manage Asthma in the long term and what to do if the condition worsens. Make the child sit in an upright posture and let him take 1-2 puffs of reliever inhaler immediately as prescribed by your doctor. Ask him to take slow steady breaths Rush to the physician immediately if the wheezing worsens and if there is an appearance of a bluish tinge on the lips which is a sign of respiratory system failure.  Medications: It is very important to understand that taking regular medications and inhalers is the only way to reduce the risk of Asthma attacks.Inform your kid’s teacher, nurse, caretaker, the baby-sitter about the Asthma Action Plan and also medications which your child needs to take regularly.Household chores like vacuum cleaning, dusting, changing bed covers, pillow covers and curtains should be done regularly. But it is better to avoid doing...