One of the most serious diseases associated with respiratory organs is bronchial asthma. As a result of chronic bronchial inflammation and edema breathlessness attacks regularly occur, accompanied by cough. At children asthma often resembles various types of cold. So you need to be familiar with asthma symptoms at children to be able to provide emergency care and treatment.
There are several asthma types, according to triggering factors. But primary asthma cause is allergens that triggers bronchial mucosa inflammation. Asthma does not affect everyday life quality, child’s mental and physical development. Sometimes there are complications that represent serious threat to health.
Disease Clinical Stages
Bronchial asthma is referred to chronic respiratory tract diseases. This disease is accompanied by regular breathlessness attacks, wheezing and prolonged cough.
This disease consists of three clinical stages as asthmatic syndrome, attacks of varying severity and status asthmaticus.
- The first stage manifests in asthmatic syndrome, characteristic of chronic asthmatic bronchitis. The main symptom is breathlessness, rapid breathing with prolonged exhalation. Asthma attacks are short and quickly ceased by bronchodilators. In case of dry cough sputum is released in small amounts or not released at all. Before the first asthma stage appears chronic pulmonary process exacerbates.
- During the second stage attacks appear, manifesting in acute form, often at night. Mild attack lasts for a short time and disappears in a few minutes. In severe cases, this period may significantly increase and last for 2 – 3 days. During attacks patient is sitting or standing, resting his hands on table or bed. Exhaling becomes difficult, respiratory rate is more than 60 times a minute.
- The most severe stage is status asthmaticus. During this period, total obstruction gradually increases. Respiratory insufficiency becomes severe. There is whistling breath, severe dyspnea and cyanosis. Because of emphysema lungs become swollen and chest becomes barrel-shaped. A child tries to take comfortable position to facilitate attack. If hypoxia and respiratory insufficiency manifests for a long time, hypoxic coma may appear, causing patient’s death.
Symptoms of children’s asthma are similar to symptoms of colds and viral diseases. It makes diagnostics difficult, and parents for a long time do not even suggest that their child has more severe disease than common cold.
Distinctive feature of children’s asthma is absence of high temperature, despite presence of frequent and dry cough.
Condition preceding asthma attack, manifests in the following way:
- In the morning, after awaking, there appears discharge of watery mucus. A child begins to often rub his nose and sneeze. After 2 – 3 hours slight dry cough appears.
- Gradually, in the afternoons, cough becomes more severe and productive.
- Direct asthma symptoms manifestation comes on the second day. At this time, cough already manifests in regular attacks.
Bronchial asthma symptoms appear in different ways, depending on child’s age. During the first year of life it is severe dry cough attacks, manifesting in the evening before bedtime or in the morning after waking up. Cough becomes milder in standing or sitting position. In lying position cough intensity increases again. There observed dyspnea, interrupted respiration, breaths are short and frequent. During inhaling and exhaling noise and whistling are clearly audible.
At older children, there manifest additional symptoms in the form of strong tightness in the chest and impossibility of full inspiration. Mouth breathing is accompanied by dry cough. Most attacks are triggered by allergens. Atypical signs of asthma are skin rash, itching, watery eyes.
Laboured Breathing or Dyspnea
In resting state at children with asthma breathing becomes rapid. This condition is known as dyspnea. Diagnosis does not always determine exact dyspnea cause. It can be either initial manifestations of asthma or respiratory viruses transferred. Therefore, you must first focus on normal breath, deviation from which is the main dyspnea symptom. This takes into account number of inhale-exhale actions produced by child during 1 minute. If the rate, established for a specific age group, is exceeded, in this case medical attention may be required. In order to obtain accurate data, respiratory rate measurement is recommended to be taken at night during sleep.
Dyspnea may occur with varying frequency. Depending on this, it is classified as acute – lasting for 3 – 5 minutes, subacute – lasting from 2 to 4 days, and chronic – observed constantly. Most often dyspnea appears during exercise and negative emotions.
The main dyspnea cause is considered weak children’s lungs, in developing stage. Seizures occur not only because of cardiac and respiratory system disorders. Often they are provoked by respiratory viral infection.
At the beginning of attack it is necessary to take measures to facilitate child’s condition. The room should always be ventilated. It is necessary to calm a child, relieve his emotional stress. Bath, hot tea or milk greatly help. The exact cause of dyspnea is revealed by doctor, who prescribes adequate treatment.
Therapy begins with inhalations based on albuterol. For this purpose, metered dose asthma inhalers or nebulizers are used, which may be bought at Asthma Inhalers Online. In case of further attacks, oral corticosteroids are appointed for a short period of time. Also reaction to various medications is tested. During therapy treatment may be changed. Necessary medicines are selected in accordance with individual characteristics of organism and results.
Typically, asthma attacks at children are constantly accompanied by cough. At the same time, suffocation may be observed. Cough manifests in the form of attacks, often at night with wheezing or whistling sound. The main provoking factors are cold air, strong smells, presence of chemicals in the air. Furthermore, cough can be caused by physical exercise, loud laugh and forced breathing. Thus, bronchial hyperreactivity to certain types of triggering factors manifests.
In case of prolonged cough during asthma lasting for more than four weeks, it is diagnosed as chronic. In many cases it is the only sign of asthma. Separate treatment is not carried out, complex therapy is used directed to relieve symptoms and facilitate patient’s condition.
Often exhalation is accompanied by high flat or noisy sound, which is characterized as wheezing. This demonstrates difficulties in breathing due to mucus, accumulating in bronchi or trachea, or respiratory spasms. Sometimes it may be a foreign object found in respiratory tract.
One of the most likely causes of wheezing is considered asthma. This disease affects 5 per cent of children from the age of six months. At mild asthma whistling sounds appear rare. Whistling exhale may also indicate presence of other diseases. Final diagnosis is made by pediatrician after careful diagnostics.
Tightness in the Chest
At airways tension, located in lungs, there is constriction. The air is exhaled with difficulties. Going out with tension through narrowed airways, the air causes wheezing and tightness in the chest. It causes severe discomfort, including pain, resembling cardiac abnormalities. In addition, there is dyspnea in case of tightness as a result of which there appear air insufficiency. There is a feeling of chest compression and inability to exhale. At the same time there is fear and panic, fear to make movements. A child must be kept from excessive movements, not to aggravate his condition. In severe cases, you should immediately call a doctor.
Correct asthma diagnosis plays a crucial role in further treatment. Therefore, if parents found asthma symptoms at their child, they should contact their pediatrician for further diagnosis.
At initial examination doctor listens to the heart and lungs, measures body temperature, examines oropharynx, carries out blood and other tests to exclude presence of pneumonia, acute bronchitis and other similar diseases. Always there is a survey conducted to identify triggering factors. Patient should be examined by allergist to determine allergen that causes attacks.
Additional surveys are conducted by pulmonologist to identify diseases associated with bronchial tubes and lungs. In accordance with final diagnosis a course of therapeutic interventions (child’s asthma treatment course) is assigned.
Not less important fact is asthma prevention. Following doctor’s advice and recommendations, you will be able to prevent and control asthma attack, thus facilitating disease course for your child and making his life better.