Today, allergies in its various forms are widespread in children. One of the serious variants of its course is the damage of the respiratory organs and the development of attacks of bronchial asthma. It is important for parents to know the typical symptoms of an attack – this is shortness of breath, episodes of dry, painful cough, difficulty breathing, and also to find out those triggers that can provoke exacerbations. This is necessary in order to provide urgent assistance and carry out preventive measures.
Risk factors: the role of allergies
According to experts, a crucial role in the development bronchial asthma The following factors play in a child:
- The presence of bronchial asthma in parents. Since this disease is mainly genetic in nature, if the parents are asthmatic, there is a high probability of the development of this disease in a child. Having a close relative with asthma can also increase the risk.
- The presence of various forms of allergies, such as eczema. Studies have shown that both eczema (also called atopic dermatitis) and asthma are the result of the activity of the same mutated gene. Therefore, there is a high correlation between the two conditions. Studies have found that about 20% of people with eczema also get asthma.
- Allergies to pollen, dust, substances in the air. Allergies to airborne substances and asthma are interrelated. About 60% of people with asthma have an allergic form. Allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly recognizes a foreign substance as dangerous, and conducts an attack on it. Common allergens are pollen, dust mites, plant fiber, mold and fungal spores. When a child inhales any of these allergens, the cells of the immune system release a complex chemical called immunoglobulin E ( IgE ). Its synthesis provokes inflammation of the airways and excessive secretion of mucus, which ultimately causes an attack.
- Food allergies. It also leads to the secretion of IgE , which can affect the respiratory tract and cause seizures. Bronchial asthma caused by food allergies is quite rare.
- High eosinophil level. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cells, which are often defined in large quantities with a tendency to allergies. A child with a high concentration of eosinophils in the blood and saliva may be susceptible to the development of asthma.
Symptoms of bronchial asthma in childhood
A child with asthma most often has the following symptoms:
- Rapid breathing. Against the background of an attack, the child will quickly inhale and exhale air with shorter intervals between breaths. On average, up to the age of three months a child takes from 30 to 60 breaths per minute. From three to 12 months it will be from 20 to 40 breaths.Bronchial asthma causes an increase in the number of breaths taken by an infant by 50%.
- Tension during breathing. The baby has to strain more to get air into the lungs. Also, intense breathing can be seen due to the swelling of the nostrils, retraction of intercostal spaces and excessive abdominal movement.
- Chest tightness. Against the background of an attack, the muscles of the chest are always strained because of shortness of breath, which makes the chest more rigid (moves worse).
- Wheezing. Whistling sounds and noises occur during breathing due to bronchospasm, narrowing of the airways and accumulation of sputum inside them.
- Chronic cough. It usually occurs at night or outdoors, with dry air or the presence of irritating substances in the air.
Additional signs in a child
A child with asthma may experience difficulties while breastfeeding, and an older child may have difficulty eating. Due to difficulty breathing, the child can stop many times during feeding. He will be uncomfortable breathing, because of what he will be interrupted during the meal, to catch his breath. Sometimes the cause of nutritional problems is coughing.
Shortness of breath and puffing, heavy caused by the narrowing of the bronchi, the accumulation of mucus inside them. The increase in shortness of breath occurs during physical exertion, such as crawling and walking with support, active games, running and jumping. Small children and newborns make faint sounds when crying due to inability to breathe normally.
For bronchial asthma, lethargy and constant fatigue, pale or blue coloring of the face and hands are typical. The blueness of the lips and nails of the hands is a sign of low oxygen in the blood. In the case of an asthma attack, the child experiences the same symptoms, but with greater intensity.
Bronchial asthma attack: a sharp respiratory failure
The attack is manifested by the same symptoms – shortness of breath, shortness of breath and wheezing, sometimes coughing, but with much greater weight. Depending on the severity, asthma attacks fall into the following categories:
- Easy attack. Dyspnea occurs only during crawling or walking. A child can normally cry or babble without any difficulty. Slight wheezing can be detected by ear.
- Moderate attack Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing occur even when the child is at rest. The child cannot talk due to breathing problems or coughing. A wheeze is heard, parents can also see how the intercostal spaces are drawn in with each breath, which indicates difficulty in breathing.
- Severe attack. Dyspnea is very severe even at rest, and wheezing is so loud that it can be heard quite from a distance. Child cannot get enough air into the lungs, and it will be difficult for him to breathe despite the fact that he very often inhales.
What to do when a child has an asthma attack, cough?
If the attack is not the first, you need to give the child a quick-acting medicine through a metered-dose inhaler. Dosed inhaler is the primary first aid for asthma in children. As soon as the cough stops or the attack resolves, you should immediately consult a doctor.
Usually, the doctor describes in detail the plan of action during an attack if the child has clinically diagnosed bronchial asthma. It contains instructions about medications that should be administered during an attack. Parents are also charged with keeping a written record of the date, time and intensity of the attack, cough episodes. The steps and instructions for asthma treatment may vary depending on the age of the child and the severity of the disease.