Asthma is a chronic disease of lungs. It is caused by hypersensitivity of airways to certain allergens in the atmosphere. It can affect children and adults equally. Good thing about childhood asthma is that many children come out of it by late teens.
If any child has this allergic disorder, biggest worry of the parents starts at the onset of autumn and spring. Change in season coupled with increased outdoor pollution and paddy harvest makes autumn times tough for these kids. Here is a ten pointer guide to reduce the risk of hospitalisation due to asthma at this time,
- Keep your “blue” inhaler (asthalin/ levolin) handy for emergency use. Wherever you go, this lifesaver should be in your kid’s backpack to be used in case of an acute attack. Always read the dose counter to see that the canister is not empty.
- Always carry your inhaler with you when you visit the doctor. She will check the inhaler technique and make corrections if needed. Wrong inhalation technique is the biggest reason for asthma drug failure.
- Your doctor will issue you a written “asthma action plan”. Paste it at some place in the bedroom or study for use in emergencies.
- If the child has been doing well on a specific inhaler for a few months, don’t insist on dose reduction at the time of season change. This will increase the risk of severe attack. Instead, continue same dose during this season and if there is no acute episode, go for dose reduction at the end of autumn.
- Outdoor and indoor air pollution are a big culprit in precipitating asthma. Wearing a mask outdoors protects against COVID as well as pollution, hence, the risk of flu and asthma. Use of dehumidifiers and air purifiers can help improve indoor air quality. Indoor plants like areca palm are a good choice , in case your child is not allergic to them.
- Most of the households have a ritual of cleaning the house thoroughly before Diwali. Dusting of musty basements and attics may precipitate asthmatic episode. Better keep the kids away from these areas when you are on a cleaning spree.
- Passive smoke exposure is known to worsen asthma control. If you are a smoker, please leave this habit for the sake of your child. Even if you smoke outside the house, soot will settle on your clothes and trouble your child when she cuddles up to you.
- Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to worsen asthma control. Consult your paediatrician for appropriate dose and prescription based on your child’s nutritional status.
- A healthy, stress free child is less likely to fall sick, be it any disease. Viral infections and psychological stress are likely to precipitate an attack of asthma. Give them plenty of fluids and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables to keep their immunity high and risk of viral infections low.
- Children with chronic lung conditions like asthma are more likely to have severe flu and pneumonia. Moreover, each episode of flu increases the risk of asthma attack. A single shot of PCV (pneumococcal vaccine) and yearly flu vaccine ensures healthy , infection free winters.
Dear parents, hope these tips help you in your child’s asthma free journey. Stay tuned for more blogs….