One of the most common breathing problems in young children is Asthma. Your child may suffer from symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and rapid or noisy breathing. Asthma is caused by inflammation of the airway known as Bronchi and is often triggered by allergies or energetic movements, although the causes will be different depending on the person.
Asthma in children is usually treated with drugs called beta2 agonists given via an inhaler or through a mask. Some children may also need steroid tablets to reduce the inflammation in their airways and physiotherapy can be helpful for children with significant breathing problems.
Asthma in children can ease and even disappear as they grow into teenagers – for others it will be a lifelong health condition.
- A few other common causes of acute breathing difficulties in children are: Ingestion of a foreign body,
- Allergic reactions or Anaphylaxis (extreme allergic reaction),
- Upper respiratory infection – croup, epiglottitis, retropharyngeal abscess,
- Lower respiratory causes – bronchiolitis, pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome,
- Laryngomalacia – a condition seen in babies where the larynx is soft and limp.
Development areas to encourage
Encourage your child to enjoy using their inhaler with the spacer – stick stickers on the spacer or let them personalise it as they please.
Teach your child to recognise when they need their inhaler and to foresee some of the early signs of an Asthma attack.
Share with them books or DVDs about their condition, help them to understand why they suffer with this condition and how important it is to manage it well.
Activities that they can engage with
It is important to be aware and make your child aware of any activity which may trigger an Asthma attack, this is often on an individual basis and so will vary.
Blowing bubbles or blow painting using straws can help to build lung capacity.
Singing and rhymes can help children develop control over their own breathing.
Physical development is important but this is dependent on the severity of the breathing condition and should always be under medical guidance. Encourage sports and physical activities such as swimming, gymnastics or martial arts if approved by your Doctor.