Dr Mir Inayat
Asthma is one of the most common disorders. It is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways associated with its hyper
responsiveness which result into recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, chest tighteness and cough. It is estimated
that about 300 million people are affected worldwide. The prevalence of asthma is increasing day by day with children at a
The attacks of asthma can be episodic or persistent but at times attacks could be so intense that it presents as an emergency
where hospitalization may be needed. The intensity of asthma varies from person to person and patients may experience
these symptoms most frequently during the night or early in the morning. It is not only affecting your health and forcing you to
incur he costs for treatment but among children it has greater impact and keeps them away from schooling and other
recreational activities. School absenteeism affects the academic excellence of child and moreover he cannot enjoy the
activities of interest like games which impairs his social behaviors. It causes sleep disturbances which may affect the overall
growth and development of the child. In USA and many western countries asthma is one of the leading causes of school
Asthamatic symptoms vary from child to child in respect to intensity and frequency of occurrence. Many children have history
of allergy like high fever, eczema, family history of allergy or may have certain triggering factors like exercise, cold weather,
dust, pollens, emotional stress, animal fur, drugs (asptin,NSAIDS). Upper respiratory tract infections, Gastro esophageal reflux
disease (GERD) also act as triggers in childhood asthma. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke increases the chances and
children who breathe secondhand smoke are also more likely to have asthma. Hence, children whose parents smoke are at
greater risk of contracting Asthama.
At times it becomes difficult to diagnose asthma like cough variant or exercise induced. Even episodes of symptoms can vary
in the same child. The most commonly presentation of signs and symptoms could be: Wheezing, a whistling sound,
Breathlessness which impairs the capacity to work with weakness and tiredness. Persistent coughing spells which at times
may be alone. The cough will aggravate in morning, night or while laughing or crying. Chest tighteness and in chronic cases
retraction of neck and chest muscles are visible.
Tempering with nature, drifting away from natural mode of living, industrial pollutions, negative coping with life stressors made
us vulnerable to large number of organic and psychosocial disorders. Rise in childhood asthma is not yet clear but some
studies suggest children spend too much time indoors and are exposed to more and more dust, air pollution, and second hand
and third hand smoke. Some suspect that children are not exposed to enough childhood illnesses to direct the attention of
their immune system to bacteria and viruses.
Diagnosis in asthma is made on proper medical history, patient’s symptoms and some tests. . The tests your child may need
like chest X-ray, lung function test called spirometry. Other test may include blood investigation (IgE) and allergy skin testing.
Parents play a key role in helping the doctor to understand signs and symptoms of child’s asthma. In conventional mode of
treatment patient needs to have close liaison with the physician and health care team so as to understand the proper use of
inhalers which otherwise could be less effective.
Avoiding triggers, using medications, and keeping an eye on daily asthma symptoms are the ways to control asthma in
children of all ages. Children with asthma should always be kept away from all sources of smoke. Switching over to safe
homeopathic medications should be the treatment of choice for asthma and other allergies. Research and clinical studies
published have shown a better outcome of homeopathic medicines in childhood asthma over previously treated unsuccessfully
with conventional medicine.
The story first appeared in print edition of May 25, 2016.