Mumbai's hot and humid climate, combined with air pollution, presents unique challenges for children with asthma. This article we will explore valuable guidance on managing childhood asthma and growing healthy with the condition.
Understanding symptoms and triggers
Children with asthma may experience symptoms like wheezing, coughing (especially at night or during exercise), and difficulty breathing. These symptoms can vary in intensity, from mild to severe, and may occur daily, weekly, or less frequently. Identifying and avoiding asthma triggers is a crucial step in managing the condition. Common triggers include cigarette smoke, stress, viral infections, strong odors, air pollution, exercise, and extreme weather conditions.
Diagnosing and Treatment
Asthma diagnosis may involve spirometry tests for children aged six and above or a thorough examination of the patient's symptoms. Once diagnosed, treatment typically includes inhalers, which are safe and quick-acting medications. These medications come in two types: quick-relief for immediate symptom management, and long-term controllers for those with frequent or severe episodes.
It is vital for parents to know that inhalers are not strong or addictive. Children should use inhalers with a spacer device, and in some cases, a nebulizer may be necessary in a hospital setting. Untreated asthma can lead to long-term consequences, including preventing children from engaging in normal activities and causing lung damage.
Preventing Asthma Flare-ups: Adapting to the Climate
In the hot and humid weather of India, taking precautions to minimize exposure to pollution and other environmental factors is crucial. Prevention involves administering daily controller medication and avoiding known triggers. Being aware of air quality and planning activities accordingly can help parents and children navigate Mumbai's challenging climate.
Asthma Outlook: Growing Up with Asthma
While some children may outgrow asthma as they age, others may continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. Raising awareness about asthma and its proper management is vital, particularly in challenging environments like Mumbai. By following these advice on diagnosis, treatment, and prevention, parents can help their children with asthma lead healthier, more active lives.
(Dr Indu Khosla is Consultant Paediatric Pulmonologist, Nanavati Max Super Speciality Hospital)