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There is no doubt that asthma is genetically determined, but the risk factors that determine when and in what way asthma develops are still under investigation. Age, childhood allergy and viral or bacterial processes that affect the respiratory tract can act as triggers in some cases.
The doctor Olga Cortés, pediatrician of the Airways Group of the AEPap, helps us better understand childhood asthma and offers us resources to adequately treat children's asthma attacks.
Can allergies in children trigger asthma?
Sensitization is related to what in pediatrics is called atopic march: in young children they begin with a food allergy or atopic dermatitis, as age increases, wheezing or asthma appear and, finally, at school age, rhinitis and allergic conjunctivitis.
What are the symptoms of childhood asthma?
- Dry cough, predominantly at night, when getting up or exercising.
- Dyspnea, which is shortness of breath, whistling or wheezing and which, at times, are audible without the need to put on the phonendoscope, and in older children chest tightness or chest pain.
These symptoms are persistent, recurrent, appear as respiratory tract infections, exposure to allergens or by certain nonspecific stimuli: tobacco, laughter, crying ...
How is asthma diagnosed in children?
- Medical history: in these symptoms of cough, wheezing, dyspnea, chest pain, it is necessary to take a good medical history and ask: when did the cough start, what is it like, what is associated with the provocation of cough: at night, when does exercise ..., how it has evolved, what has happened between the coughing episodes, if it gives way on its own or you have to give medication, what medication, how long does it take to give up ..., and also take note of family history, of parents if they have asthma , atopy, and personal history of the child such as atopic dermatitis.
- Physical examination: in the examination, many times, we do not find anything, but other times we do, such as wheezing on cardiopulmonary auscultation, which can increase the heart or respiratory rate.
- Functional diagnosis: that is, to demonstrate that there is a reversible airflow obstruction. This can only be done in children older than 5-6 years, who collaborate in spirometry and it cannot be done in young children.
- Differential diagnosis: consists of ruling out other diseases that can cause a cough, but are not asthma such as cystic fibrosis, gastroesophageal reflux, tuberculosis, pneumonia or cardiac malformations. The allergological diagnosis requires allergy tests to rule out possible pneumoallergens responsible for the clinical picture of asthma.
What is the asthma treatment for children?
The treatment consists of 5 main actions:
- Avoid triggers
- Know how to use inhalers correctly.
- Immunotherapy, in those cases where it is indicated
- Educational therapy, that is, giving a series of teachings to the child and the parents of the asthmatic child so that they know how to understand what asthma is, what medication to use to reach self-control, a situation in which they are able to manage and control your asthma, which is the ultimate goal of treatment.
What medications are childhood asthma controlled?
There are two types: rescue drugs, short-acting bronchodilators, and control drugs, maintenance drugs, background treatment, such as corticosteroids. Controller treatment should be staggered, depending on the severity of the child's asthma, and should be adjusted as asthma control progresses.
Are there new treatments for asthma?
There are new treatments for asthma, but they are currently under investigation. At the clinical level, the fundamental thing is to avoid triggers, pharmacological treatment, immunotherapy and do a good educational therapy. The most important thing is the education of the child and the parents.
You can read more articles similar to Childhood asthma. Causes and treatments, in the category of Childhood Diseases on site.