Managing asthma in kids under 5 years of age
Asthma is a chronic medical condition marked by severe inflammation in the airways that allow oxygen to reach the lungs. It is marked by frequent episodes of breathing difficulty, commonly referred to as asthma attacks, which may be triggered by a variety of reasons including allergies, infections and overexertion. In some cases, even stress can lead to an asthma attack. The problem can be quite overwhelming for adults, let alone for kids below 5 years of age. In infants and toddlers, asthma is characterized by two primary symptoms, i.e. comparing and wheezing, which may also be caused by some other underlying medical condition. As per the top children’s asthma doctor, it is due to this very reason that the diagnosis and management of asthma in small children can be comparatively difficult.
Even the standard diagnostic modalities available for assessing a person’s breathing rate may not be able to give precise results when it comes to children. Hence, proper management and regular monitoring of asthma in small children, especially those below 5 years of age are mandatory.
Here are a few symptoms that you need to look out for, as listed by experts from the best multispeciality hospital in Kolkata.
- Cough and wheezing
- Tightness or pressure in the chest
It is pertinent to know that the symptoms may vary in terms of their severity and patterns and these usually tend to worsen at night. The coughing and wheezing also become adverse and your child becomes more vulnerable to infections and allergy triggers.
There are certain events that may trigger your child’s asthma attack. These include the following:
- Respiratory infections like cold
- Exposure to certain allergens like dust, cigarette smoke or pollen
- Indulging in rigorous activities
- Feeding rapidly (in infants)
- Sudden shock or trauma that causes emotional reactions like crying
- Gastrointestinal reflux
- Weather change
By now you must be familiar with asthma and its major triggers. Now, let us focus on how we can manage the condition in small children. As per the leading pulmonologist in Kolkata, the primary aim of Asthma treatment in children is to treat airway inflammation and prevent asthma attacks. The treatment also focuses on reducing the impact of asthma triggers and helping the child lead a normal life.
The treatment is not started abruptly, but there is a stepwise approach that is to be followed. The doctor may start with a smaller dose and increase it gradually. If the child is stable and does not show any major symptoms, the dose may be again lowered.
Long-term control with the help of medication – These medicines are usually taken on a daily basis and include:
- Inhaled corticosteroids – This is one of the most common drugs used for asthma management in children below 5 years of age. In fact, it is the most preferred treatment listed in the National Asthma Education and Prevention Guidelines. Some of the commonly inhaled corticosteroids available in the market include budesonide and fluticasone.
- Leukotrienes modifiers – These are usually recommended to children who do not show considerable improvement with inhaled corticosteroids alone. The medicine is available in the form of chewable tablets. For infants, the same can be given in the pureed form.
- Long-acting beta-agonist – This is also an inhaled drug that can be given along with corticosteroids.
- Cromolyn – It is an inhaled drug that helps to block any kind of informative event. It is given in combination with corticosteroid treatment and is known to add to the effectiveness of the same.
- Oral corticosteroids – These are given when inhaled corticosteroids fail to help the patient.
Medication for short term management-
Also referred to as short-acting bronchodilators, these medicines provide instant relief from the symptoms of asthma, however, the effect does not last for more than 4 to 6 hours. These include albuterol and levalbuterol. These are usually given to children who do not have any severe asthma symptoms. However, if a child needs the medication frequently, there might be a need to shift to long-term medication.
Possible causes of Insomnia
Insomnia is a very common sleep disorder, affecting nearly 35 per cent of the adult population. Marked by the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep during the night, insomnia can lead to serious effects and give rise to a variety of health issues. The fact that you are not able to complete your sleep at night is very likely to make you feel tired and sleepy during the day. As such, you may find it rather difficult to focus on what you are doing and also face higher risks of automobile accidents. As per the best doctor for sleep disorders in Kolkata, sleep deprivation can affect you both physically, as well as mentally. But, the question here is, ‘What causes Insomnia?’
Before we answer this question, it is important for you to understand that the condition is not the same for everyone and different people can understand distinct forms of insomnia, depending on various factors, including the reason behind it. While short term insomnia is experienced only for a brief period of time, chronic insomnia may be experienced for months at a stretch. While, for some, the major problem is falling asleep, for others, it is the inability to maintain that sleep.
There are numerous causes of insomnia, and in certain cases, more than one factor may be involved.
Experts offering the best treatment for insomnia suggest that the problem might be caused by a state of hyperarousal, which interferes with your body’s ability to fall asleep. These can be either mental or physical and may be triggered by numerous factors.
- Insomnia caused by stress – Mental stress can affect your body in a number of ways which can directly or indirectly impact the quality of your sleep. No matter what the source of the stress is, whether it is due to excess workload, relationship problems, exposure to traumatic situations (post-traumatic stress disorder) or any other reason. Our body physically responds to the stress, leading to hyperarousal. The fact that you are not able to sleep properly may add to your stress and the chain continues. Studies have shown that some individuals are more prone to stress-related sleeping problems as compared to others. This is due to higher sleep reactivity.
- Insomnia caused by an irregular sleep schedule – Ever heard about the circadian rhythm? Well, in simple terms, it can be defined as the body’s internal clock, which somewhat works in synchronization with the natural day and night. In some people, the circadian cycle can get misaligned owing to their irregular sleep patterns. For instance, people who work night shifts, or people who travel from one time zone to another. While the rhythm may be shifted backwards in certain cases, in others, it may be shifted forward.
- Insomnia caused by unhealthy lifestyle – Experts from the best multispeciality hospital in Kolkata suggest that unhealthy lifestyle practices, too, can be a contributing factor behind your insomnia. Unhealthy routines and lifestyle habits can affect your body in countless ways, however, we do not usually realize this until the damage is done. These habits include:
- Staying up late for work or any other reason, which keeps your brain stimulated
- Napping frequently during the daytime
- Waking up late in the morning
- Taking caffeine late in the evening or at night
- Insomnia caused by pain and other medical conditions – It is extremely difficult to fall asleep when you are in pain, as the situation can be very uncomfortable and make it difficult for you to lie still in bed. The pain may be due to an injury or an underlying condition. In some cases, insomnia may also be the result of the medication that you have been taking for the management of some other medical condition.
Know your child’s asthma triggers
One of the best ways to help your little ones manage their asthma is by distancing them from various asthma triggers. While most of these are usually harmless to healthy people, those suffering from a condition like asthma, might be drastically affected by the same. In this blog, we have shed light on some common asthma triggers as listed by the best pulmonologist in Kolkata. These include:
· Irritants or pollutants
· Weather conditions
· Gastroesophageal reflux (GER)
Being a parent, it is important for you to understand that your child’s asthma may be triggered by reasons, some of which are more common during certain specific times of the year. Some children might even outgrow the problem with time, while others might need to take lifelong medication.
If your child’s asthma is triggered by allergens
Allergens, as the name suggests, are likely to give rise to allergies that lead to the flare-up Allergens like animal dander, cockroaches, dust mites and moulds, are quite likely to trigger asthma Allergens are one of the most common asthma triggers. They include animal dander, dust, mould, mites etc.
Though it is impossible to completely get rid of all allergens at once, you can minimize their quantity in your home by following these simple tips by the leading children’s asthma doctor:
· Keep your home clean and dust free.
· Wash your beddings in hot water and avoid using feather pillows
· Avoid using rugs and mats at home as dust can easily accumulate over them
· Wash your curtains very often
· Clean and sanitize your washrooms, basements and balconies more often
· Refrain from using humidifiers
If your child’s asthma is triggered by environmental irritants
Environmental irritants not only affect those who have asthma, but also people who do not have any such condition. Though these are not that serious generally, however the same can’t be said for kids with asthma. The irritants can swell up their airways and trigger flare ups. Common irritants that are found at home include perfumes, paints, tobacco smoke etc. You can easily reduce your child’s exposure to these by following these simple tips.
Ø Try to use unscented or non-aerosol products
Ø Avoid wood fires
Ø Restrict your little one from going in areas where painting or carpentry work is being done.
Ø Make sure your kitchen is well ventilated.
Ø Avoid smoking around your child
Ø If possible, get an air purifier or use an air conditioner on a regular basis.
If your child’s asthma is triggered by extreme weather conditions
Leading experts specializing in asthma treatment in Kolkata suggest that asthma flare-ups may also be triggered by extreme weather conditions that include:
Ø Wind, which can stir up dust particles and pollens
Ø Rain, which can promote the release of pollens
Ø Extremely hot or cold weather
Ø Excessive humidity or dry air
It weather condition are responsible for triggering your child’s asthma, it is important to stay updated with the weather forecast and take all the necessary measures like ask your child to wear a mask or cover his/her face with a scarf, limit your child’s outdoor activities and keep your child in a well-conditioned place. You might also need to increase the dose of your child’s medication.
If your child’s asthma is triggered by exercise
It is pertinent to note that exercise and increased physical exertion can also trigger asthma like various allergens. This is very much likely to happen with kids whose asthma is not managed properly. However, it is important to understand that stopping your little one from indulging in games and other physical activities can trigger other health issues and instead of doing so, you should simply limit the level of activity. Make sure your child does not indulge in any rigorous physical activity and encourage him/her to only take part in the mild ones.
If your child’s asthma is triggered by GERD
Studies have shown that Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD can trigger the symptoms of asthma. In fact, the condition is much more common in people with asthma, as compared to the general population. The content is marked by the backward flow of food from the stomach into the oesophagus. This can trigger nerve reflex which can cause the airways to tighten so as to prevent the acids from entering your lungs. If your child’s asthma is triggered by GERD, it is important to treat the condition.