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How to recognise asthma in young kids

 
Would you know if your child was suffering from asthma or how to treat it? It's more common than you think with one in seven Kiwi kids and one in nine adults living with asthma, allergies and other a respiratory conditions. Find out more about asthma, treating asthma and common triggers of asthma.
How much do you know about asthma in young kids?

Would you know if your child was suffering from asthma or how to treat it?

Asthma is more common than you think with one in seven Kiwi kids and one in nine adults living with asthma, allergies and other a respiratory conditions.

Find out more about asthma in young kids, treating asthma and common triggers of asthma.
 

What is asthma?


Asthma is a disease of the airways, the small tubes that carry air in and out of the lungs.

Symptoms include coughing, wheezing, chest tightness and shortness of breath.
 
Many young kids with asthma only get symptoms when they inhale a ‘trigger’ that irritates their airways. For example, they exercise or run around without the right preparation or catch a cold.
 
Unfortunately there is no simple test for the diagnosis of asthma. Instead doctors will consider your kids symptoms and any other health issues they might have, do a chest exam and often conduct a breathing test (called spirometry).
 
Asthma tends to run in families, so doctors will also ask about family members with asthma.
 

Treating asthma in young kids


Asthma isn’t yet curable but it can be managed. Medication is key to asthma management.
 
Young kids with asthma should have a reliever inhaler (puffer) to use when their symptoms flare up, such as Ventolin, Asmol or Bricanyl.
 
Some kids also have preventer medication they take every day.
 

Common triggers for asthma


There are many triggers for asthma which can be different for different people.
 
Common triggers include:
 
  • Allergy-related triggers such as house dust mites, pollens, pets and moulds
 
  • Cigarette smoke
 
  • Viral infections, colds and flu
 
  • Weather; cold air, change in temperature, thunderstorms
 
  • Work-related triggers (wood dust, chemicals etc)
 
  • Exercise, although this can usually be managed
 

Living with asthma


Around 4 out of 5 kids with asthma also have allergies like hay fever.

Treating these allergies can help make asthma easier to manage.
 
Hospital visits for asthma peak in February and May for kids, and in winter for adults.

Yet with good management, kids with asthma can lead normal, active lives.
 

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Source: The Asthma Foundation’s Sensitive Choice® programme - helping you identify asthma and allergy-aware products.
Image source: healthychild.org
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