The incidence of paediatric asthma is on the rise in the Indian sub-continent. It is mainly due to polluted atmosphere or genetic factor or a combination of both.
The prevalence of such health condition hampers the optimal performance of children and also impacts parents to a great measure.
Dr K.Maheswaran, Pulmonoligist of KG Hospital, explains the symptoms and medical procedures involved in treating asthmatic children.
He says that paediatric pulmonologist”™s consultation is necessary for those children having the following symptoms:
Prolonged cough and / or wheezing after viral respiratory infections may suggest asthma. When the children run or participate in sports they might find breathing difficulties.
Children having nocturnal exacerbations, ie., having bouts of cough in the nights and in early mornings.
Presence of flexural dermatitis, eczema and allergic rhinoconjunctivitis
“¢ If parents have asthma the risk is more than three times for their children when compared to other normal parents
“¢ Cough provoked by cry or laugh
“¢ Cough induced by inhaled irritants or aeroallergens.
“¢ Cough aggravated by sudden changes in temperature, flowering season and harvesting time.
The children diagnosed with asthma could use inhaler devices for getting relief. This form of relief is suggested over that of medications, because of certain advantages.
Advantages of the inhaled route than tablets:
Smaller dose: Contrast the milligram (mg) concentration of syrups and tablets with the microgram (mcg) concentration of the same drug in the inhaled form.
Target delivery – Quicker action: Drug is delivered directly to the site of action. Reliever drugs, therefore, act faster.
Safer: Smaller dose and thus, much better safety profile than with oral therapy.
However, there are certain doubts over the use of inhaler devices, and some of these are answered below.
Is inhaled therapy addictive?
None of the asthma medications are known to cause dependence.
Is inhaled therapy strong?
Inhaled treatment has many advantages.
Is inhaled therapy expensive?
The inhaler device is a one-time purchase. Only drugs need to be purchased subsequently. A few inhaled drugs may be slightly more expensive than oral drugs on a per dose basis but, in the context of the child well being, safety and reduced doctor / hospital visits these are advantageous.
Are inhalers easy enough for children to use?
Depending upon the device selected, the required training for its usage could be given.
Diet and asthma
The role of diet in the precipitation of asthma symptoms is over-emphasized in our setting.
While nuts, eggs, chocolates, seafood and certain preservatives are the commoner food allergens, providing a “general avoid list” of food items to all patients is irrational.
Suspect food allergy, only if:
“¢ Symptoms are recurrent, invariable and occurring rapidly after ingestion of suspected food.
“¢ Ingestion often leads to perioral dermatitis (rashes that tend to occur around the mouth) and/or gastrointestinal symptoms in addition to respiratory symptoms.
“¢ Sudden severe life threatening episodes occur without prior warning.
“¢ A child has severe / poorly controlled asthma where other trigger factors have been ruled out or eliminated.
Our Chairman Dr G.Bakthavathsalam has equipped KG Hospital with necessary expertise and facilities to ensure good outcomes in paediatric asthma cases, Dr Maheswaran says.