Bronchitis & Asthma: Symptoms, Cause & Treatment
There are many types of respiratory problems that affect children, especially those under 5 years of age. Most children develop at least 3 to 7 episodes of respiratory illnesses every year. Acute respiratory problems like common cold and upper respiratory tract infections can be easily treated. However, serious conditions that children develop are asthma and pneumonia or bronchitis, which may require hospitalization in some cases.
Symptoms of Asthma in Children
Asthma is a chronic respiratory problem with acute exacerbation of the attacks. Children with asthma have sensitive, easily irritated airways in their lungs. When exposed to viruses, secondhand smoke, allergens like pollen, dust, cold air, or pollutants, the airways become inflamed producing increased mucus, mucosal swelling, and muscle contractions. This leads to narrowing of the airway, which causes high-pitched wheezing, coughing, difficulty in breathing, and tightness of the chest. Asthma in children causes the airways of the lungs to go into spasms.
Asthma symptoms vary from child to child. However possible signs and symptoms of asthma in children include:
Frequent cough that usually occurs while playing, at night, or while crying or laughing
At times only chronic cough on breathing out may be present
Low energy while playing
Breathing that is rapid
Complains of chest tightening
Wheezing, which is a whistling sound while breathing out
Shortness or loss of breath
Rapid heart rate
Asthma in children requires close follow-up with their doctors so that the condition is kept under control. Medications should be taken so that the asthma symptoms clear up and no permanent lung damage occurs. Book an appointment at Manipal, Pediatric Hospital in Varthur Road, Whitefield for the best treatment.
Asthma treatment includes:
Controller Medicines: In this treatment, medications are used over the long term to help control the swelling of the airway in children. Controller medicines are given to children on an everyday basis, even if they are feeling well.
Reliever Medicines: In this treatment, medications are used for immediate relief during an asthma attack or when a child is experiencing asthma symptoms. Reliever medicines act quickly in relaxing the airways, relieving cough and wheezing, and helping the child breathe.
If your child develops any of the following symptoms, then they should be taken to the doctor immediately:
Wheezing that does not improve even after using asthma medication
Difficulty in breathing
If the lip and nail bed of the child turns bluish
Bronchitis in Children
An infection or inflammation of the large air passages (also known as bronchi) in the lungs is called bronchitis. When children have a cold, flu, sinus infection, or sore throat, the virus that causes it can spread to the bronchi. Once this happens, the airways become swollen and inflamed and partly blocked with mucus. Children can develop acute bronchitis or chronic bronchitis.
Apart from viral infections, bronchitis in children can also be caused by bacterial infections, irritants, and allergies such as smoke, fumes, dust, and pollen. Symptoms include wheezing, cough, difficulty in breathing, and fever. Bronchitis treatment includes antibiotics only if it is caused by a bacterial infection. If it is caused by a viral infection then your doctor will prescribe medication and bronchitis management tips for bronchitis treatment. Usually, this is diagnosed by blood tests and chest x-ray.
Other Respiratory Problems in Children
Other respiratory problems in children include cold, flu, croup, and bronchiolitis. These are common particularly in children in school. Uncomplicated respiratory infections usually last up to two weeks in children.
What are the common symptoms of uncomplicated respiratory problems in children?
Hoarseness of voice
Coughing and lymph nodes that are swollen
However, do look for the following symptoms and if present seeks medical attention immediately:
Breathing that is rapid
Stridor which is a raspy and harsh vibrating sound heard when breathing in
Children are always at a health risk of developing respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, colds, flu, sore throat, croup, and many such infections. Thus for information, care, or treatment for numerous respiratory problems in children contact our health care providers at Manipal Hospital now. Our hospitals are across India. You can find us in cities like Bangalore, Mysore, Gurugram, Patiala, Ghaziabad, Kolkata, and Pune. Consult with our Best Pediatric Pulmonologist in Varthur Road, Whitefield to know more about the treatment options.
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