Asthma In Kids
An Increasing Epidemic
By Tim Jackson
Many believe that the majority of asthma cases are confined to adults, but this is definitely an incorrect assumption. because asthma in kids has become increasingly common in the last 20 years. We are uncertain as to why this is so, but it is an undoubted fact that in the United States alone there are 5,000,000+ children beneath the age of 18 who suffer from asthmic symptoms.
In a recent study (2004) it was discovered that the #1 cause of absenteeism in school is asthma, accounting for a whopping 14,000,000 lost days in school. According to the American Lung Association, four million kids below the age of 18 had an asthma attack during this year.
Anyone, at any age, can manifest asthmatic symptoms - even infants - but most often symptoms manifest themselves around the young age of five.
Who Is Most Vulnerable To An Asthma Attack?
1. Boys are more likely than girls to be sick in earlier childhood
2. Children of African American descent are more vulnerable than Caucasians, Hispanics or Asians
3. And, not surprisingly, children in our increasingly polluted cities are more vulnerable than kids in the less-crowded suburbs and rural areas
Symptoms Of Childhood Asthma
Childhood asthma is like adult asthma in that the symptoms are generally the same:
* Inflammation in the airways
* Difficulty in breathing
* Rapid breathing
* Shortness of breath
* Symptoms that worsen at night
* Tightness in the chest
There is a special problem with childhood asthma that doesn't apply to adults and that is that children are much less inclined to take care of themselves and thus the parental role is critical. Some kids are simply too young to assume this responsibility while those who are older may have various reasons for neglecting the necessary treatment. For instance, they may dislike being seen as "different" from their classmates or they may be too busy with sports and other activities to monitor their breathing. Thus, an asthma attack that could have been avoided, or at least reduced in severity, is allowed to emerge.
Parents must ensure that:
1. Their child understands and is educated about their asthmatic condition
2. Medications are ingested on a medical schedule
3. And mom and dad can do much to reassure the child so that he doesn't become panicked and afraid, thus worsening his condition.
Without monitoring, childhood asthma may seriously affect a child's general health in a very negative way, possibly even resulting in hospitalization. Asthma in kids must be taken seriously!