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Could your child be the one in every ten children who is affected by what is now the most common chronic disease of childhood. Here’s what parents need to know.
Asthma is a condition that tends to run in families where overly sensitive airways swell, tighten, and produce excess mucus. Who’s at the highest risk of developing asthma? Children who have a history of being born premature, live with smokers, or come from families with parents or close relatives who have allergies or asthma are more likely to develop the disease. Researchers are still trying to figure out exactly what factors prompt asthma to develop in susceptible children, but asthma seems to result from both an inherited tendency and exposure to environmental factors. About half of children with asthma develop symptoms by age two, and about 80 percent will have symptoms by age five. But detecting asthma in babies and toddlers can be difficult. When especially younger children get certain respiratory infections, their tiny airways are filled easily with mucus. This can lead to the wheezing sound that may sound like asthma but isn’t. Monitoring for the below symptoms every time your child gets a cold or viral illness helps predict the chances your child may have asthma.
Parents should be on the lookout for these symptoms:
If you think your child may have asthma, don’t wait. Take them to see a doctor. A medical history, certain breathing, and allergy tests can help determine if treatment is needed. What is causing the asthma symptoms? Possible culprits include cigarette smoke, dust mites and pets to which many people have an allergic reaction. Allergies are a common trigger for asthma symptoms. If your child has allergies, managing the triggers may lead to fewer asthma problems.
Tips for managing triggers
Work with the doctor to find your child’s allergic triggers. Then discuss ways to avoid or control them. For example:
How can allergies be treated?
Talk with your child’s doctor about allergy treatments. Options include:
To learn more about Asthma and the Taking on Asthma initiative, and to help you breathe easier about your child’s treatment options, visit bcbsnm.com/taking-on-asthma.
Originally published: June 1, 2016
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