Asthma causes the airways to become restricted, which inhibits breathing. In an asthma attack, you may find yourself gasping for breath. If it goes untreated, asthma can present a big health risk, especially in young children. If you learn to recognize the symptoms and understand your treatment options, you’ll be able to prevent major complications.
Difficulty breathing is the major symptom of asthma. This can show as shortness of breath, wheezing and gasping for air after exercise. There may also be coughing or a feeling of tightness in the chest. This can be confusing because these can all be symptoms of a cold or a respiratory illness. The difference is that asthma has symptoms that persist over a long period of time. Your child may be more prone to asthma if someone else in the family has it. Only a doctor can diagnose asthma.
Asthma in Babies
Asthma in babies is particularly difficult to diagnose because a baby cannot describe her symptoms. Parents should simply take note when it seems that the baby has a difficult time breathing or is frequently wheezing. A doctor may not give an asthma diagnosis until your baby has grown old enough to confirm the symptoms, though he may treat the baby as though she has asthma.
Dust, pet dander and poor air quality in the home can contribute to asthma. Take care to clean regularly and consider using an air purifier to clean the air. Vitamin B6, vitamin B12 and caffeine can help open the airways. Consult with your physician about the use of these for your asthma symptoms. MayoClinic.com points out that regular exercise and eating healthy foods can help to maintain a normal weight, which decreases asthma symptoms.
A doctor can help determine which type of asthma medication is right for you or your child. Most commonly, you will receive an inhaler, which helps to open the air passageways. You can also take an oral pill that helps asthma. If your asthma is only present around certain allergens, then allergy shots can reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
Asthma is not always a life-altering disease. If your child has a mild form of asthma, he may grow out of it as he gets older. However, it can flare up during illness.
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