Asthma management

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Paediatric Asthma Treatment In London

Childhood asthma is a respiratory disease that affects around 1 million children in the UK. Asthma is the most common long-term condition among children and adolescents. Several triggers can cause this condition to develop from a young age, with most of them being difficult to avoid in everyday life. 

At Children’s Allergy Doctors, we understand that this condition can be challenging for parents to manage. That’s why we offer a range of treatments to help manage asthma effectively. 

What Causes Childhood Asthma?

Most young children will usually start to display asthma symptoms around the age of 4. In younger children, viral-induced wheeze is a common condition that does not necessarily lead to asthma. Although the exact cause of asthma is unknown, it is thought that asthma is hereditary, so one parent usually has a history of asthma or other allergic condition. Children whose parents have a history of allergies are more likely to develop the condition. However, environmental factors like second-hand smoke and air pollution are also common causes. Children with allergic rhinitis, particularly due to house dust mite allergy, are more likely to develop asthma. There are several triggers which can cause an asthma attack, so it’s important to try and avoid them if possible. This includes:

In cases of allergic asthma triggered by allergies, the condition needs to be managed even more carefully than usual with paediatric help to get more information regarding the cause of asthma. 

Common Asthma Symptoms In Children

Parents should familiarise themselves with the symptoms associated with asthma. It can help you identify the issue early – so that you can seek medical assistance as soon as possible. Be aware that not all children will experience the same symptoms. You may also find their symptoms subside and flare up on different occasions. Common symptoms include:

  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Persistent dry cough especially at night
  • Wheezing while breathing 
  • Getting unusually tired during exercise

Symptoms of a mild asthma attack differ from a severe attack. If your child has a mild asthma attack, they will exhibit symptoms such as wheezing and coughing. They may also experience breathlessness and a tight chest. Severe asthma attacks can include breathlessness and your child may also struggle to speak, talk or eat. If your child is experiencing severe asthma symptoms, you should call 999 immediately.

When To Seek Paediatric Help

If you notice your child exhibits asthma symptoms, we recommend seeking paediatric help. 

Here at Children’s Allergy Doctors, our team are on hand to assess your child’s symptoms – and guide you through treatment options to relieve any discomfort they may be experiencing. We always supply families with a personalised asthma action plan so that they know what to do in case of an asthma attack. We urge parents to seek paediatric support over ongoing issues, even if they are undiagnosed. You may find that your child does not have asthma, but they may have another condition such as postnasal drip due to hay-fever, prolonged bacterial bronchitis, or vocal cord dysfunction, which our team can also assist with. It is always better to get them checked out. 

If your child has asthma, and their symptoms are not subsiding with the help of prescribed medication, you should contact your GP or paediatrician. In the event of an asthma attack, parents should know their child’s personalised asthma action plan.

How Asthma In Children Diagnosed By A Paediatric Consultant?

We understand that asthma can be challenging to detect in children, particularly under the age of 5 years. This is because they often cough or wheeze, which does not necessarily mean they have asthma. However, if you are concerned about persistent coughing or wheezing, you should consult your child’s paediatrician or GP. 

You can also aid in your child’s diagnosis by keeping a diary and taking a video of their breathing to show the doctor. Note down when your child’s asthma gets worse to help with identifying potential triggers. Expect your paediatric consultant to ask a few questions regarding your child’s symptoms and family history. Some additional tests may be required to help your consultant come to a confident diagnosis.

Two lab tests may be required, a test for exhaled nitric oxide test and a spirometry test. The exhaled nitric oxide test measures allergic inflammation in your child’s lungs. Spirometry is a machine your child will blow into to identify how much air the lungs hold and whether they have any obstruction to breathing. Our team will decide which tests are appropriate to help them diagnose the condition.

Paediatric Asthma Treatment

The main aim of asthma treatments is to keep symptoms under control – while preventing the likelihood of an attack. The type and quantity of medication needed to stop attacks can vary.

Reliever Treatment For Asthma In Children

Medication, called short-acting bronchodilators such as Ventolin or Salbutamol, provides immediate relief from asthma symptoms within a few hours. They should always be given through an inhaler. They work by relaxing the muscles around the airways so that they open up temporarily. This treatment is typically for those who suffer from very mild cases of asthma. Most children should take a preventer inhaler too. 

Preventer Treatment For Asthma In Children

Preventative treatment for asthma is the most important treatment in all children with asthma and should be taken daily. Inhaled corticosteroids are the mainstay of preventer treatment for asthma and they work by reducing excess mucous production in the lungs. Other preventer medications can also help, such as long-acting beta-agonists in combination with steroids, leukotriene modifiers, cromolyn, and in severe attacks, oral corticosteroids. 

Managing Your Child’s Asthma

Once you learn how to manage your child’s asthma, you can significantly reduce their chances of a flare-up in the future. We understand this can be challenging, so we have compiled a list of asthma management tips below to help you get started:

  • Ensure your child is flu vaccinated. This can prevent their risk of an attack if they get the flu.
  • Keep a record of their asthma attacks. This will help you identify their triggers and need for more medication. You can then actively work towards avoiding them in the future. 
  • Give your child their preventer medication daily through a spacer – with the guidance of your paediatric consultant. 
  • Follow your child’s personalised asthma action plan.
  • Ensure your child’s asthma is reviewed annually

Potential Asthma Complications

Asthma symptoms can interfere with play, sports, or other activities. Other potential complications include poor sleep and fatigue.

Asthma attacks can be life-threatening so it is important to get a proper diagnosis of asthma, and management. Severe asthma can cause a permanent decline in lung function so it is important to manage this well. If you suspect your child has asthma, you should seek advice from a paediatric consultant. Children’s Allergy Doctors can help. We offer various services, such as asthma management, to help parents better understand and manage their child’s condition. Don’t hesitate to book an appointment today to find out how our support team can help you.