ASTHMA

Asthma Treatment in Jumeirah, Dubai

Overview:

Asthma is a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma in children causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing. These symptoms occur periodically, usually related to specific triggering events. The small airways of young children with asthma narrow during these episodes, limiting the flow of air in and out of the lungs. This narrowing is partially or completely reversible with asthma treatments. In addition, the airways in asthmatic children react to a variety of stimuli, which may include viral illnesses (e.g., the common cold), exercise, inhalant or food allergens, or environmental conditions.
Asthma is the most common chronic disease in children in Dubai and other developed countries, affecting approximately 12 percent of children below 18 years of age.

Causes & Symptoms of Asthma in Children:

Many different genetic, infectious, and environmental factors may increase the risk of developing asthma in young children, a few of which include:

  • Viral infections: children who have wheezing with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or rhinovirus seem to be at increased risk for developing asthma.
  • Pollution: exposure to indoor and outdoor pollution may increase the risk of developing asthma in children.
  • Exposure to tobacco: smoke during pregnancy and throughout childhood increases the risk of developing asthma.
  • Family history: children with a personal or family history of certain medical problems, such as asthma, allergies, or eczema, are at increased risk of developing asthma in young children.
  • Stress: severely negative life events in children increase the risk of asthma attacks over the subsequent few weeks.

However, not all children with asthma have known risk factors.

Symptoms of asthma in children include coughing and wheezing. The cough is usually dry and is most noticeable while the child sleeps and during early morning hours. It may also be triggered by exercise or cold air exposure. Wheezing is a high-pitched, musical noise that is usually heard when the child breathes out. It is heard best with a stethoscope.

Breathlessness, chest tightness or pressure, and chest pain may also occur. In addition to coughing or wheezing, a child may report that his or her chest or stomach hurts. If you notice these symptoms in children

Triggers to developing an acute asthma attack in children include: environmental conditions, upper respiratory tract infections, exercise, allergens and irritants, house dust, particularly during vacuuming, animal dander, pollens, molds, indoor pollutants (e.g., paint, perfume, cleaning products). If allergies are a possible cause of symptoms, skin or blood testing may be recommended. This can help to both identify triggers and determine the necessity of avoiding these triggers at home.

Children with chronic asthma may have one of several distinct patterns of symptoms, and the asthma pattern may change over time:

  • Intermittent asthma attacks with no symptoms between attacks
  • Chronic symptoms with intermittent worsening
  • Attacks that become more severe or frequent over time
  • Morning “dipping,” when symptoms worsen in the morning and improve as the day progresses
  • Symptoms that begin during upper respiratory tract infections (eg, colds) and linger for several weeks after, with resolution during warmer weather

Most asthma attacks develop slowly over a period of several days. Uncommonly, a severe attack can occur suddenly, even in someone with intermittent asthma, and with minimal warning. To avoid this, the parents should look out for any signs and symptoms of asthma in children.

Asthma Treatment in Children:

The optimal treatment of asthma depends upon a number of factors, including the child’s age, the severity and frequency of asthma attacks, and the ability to properly use the prescribed medications. For the great majority of children, asthma treatment can control symptoms, allowing the child to participate fully in all activities, including sports. The goals of asthma treatment are to reduce impairment from symptoms, minimize risk of the various adverse outcomes associated with asthma (e.g., hospitalizations, loss of lung function), and minimize adverse effects from asthma medications

After identifying potential asthma triggers, the child should completely avoid or limit exposure to the trigger, such as eliminating exposure to cigarette smoke, removing carpets from bedrooms, not allowing pets into the child’s room. Children who have persistent problems despite efforts to avoid triggers may benefit from seeing an asthma specialist.

Regular monitoring by the parent and/or child is done by recording the frequency and severity of asthma symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, and wheezing), and following-up with the healthcare provider every 1-6 months to monitor the child’s symptom severity and frequency and response to treatment.

It is important to note that any asthma symptom, whether mild or severe, is always serious; even mild symptoms can quickly become life-threatening. With time, the parents and the child will learn the warning signs of an asthma attack (or asthma flare-up) to interfere fast.

There are 2 main types of medications for asthma control in children:

  • Quick relief: to open up the airways during an acute asthma attack and take care of the coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. This medicine (typically an inhaler) should be with the child at all times for use at the first sign of symptoms.
  • Long-term control: This type of medicine is needed by some children to treat the quiet part of asthma — the inflammation of the airways. It is taken daily to prevent the development of asthma symptoms and attacks.

Your child can take both medicines using an inhaler with a device called a holding chamber (which helps to ensure that all the medication reaches the lungs) or through a nebulizer, a machine that includes compressor tubing and a mask to help deliver the medication. Your child’s doctor, nurse or pharmacist can teach you how to use both so you can determine what works best. Asthma medicines are very safe and effective when used as directed. If medications are not effective or if the child cannot avoid asthma triggers, he/she will need allergy testing and might require immunotherapy (allergy shots).

Children with asthma should get a flu shot each fall. If kids with asthma get the flu, they are at risk for flare-ups and developing a more serious illness.

Asthma in children can become life threatening if not taken care of. Consult the pediatrician at SHAMMA Clinic in Dubai to effectively diagnose and treat asthma. Schedule a consultation today.

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